My Diary #133

Dear Tigey,

*squeeze* Cutie.

Entry #133 (Feb 25 2024)

Table of Contents

Another cycle around the…
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #129
ට  Song of the Week #106
ට  Writing Prompt of the Week #49
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #113
ට  Dreams


I talked to my housing office about potentially moving to a new apartment “for free” this week. What they told me the next day after checking is that they had a similar (slightly bigger, but still considered a one-room apartment) vacant 5th floor apartment unit in a separate building, one of the taller towers in the complex, and where there’s cement walls and floors so there’s less sound between units. Apaprently this would cost approximately $1550 a month though, up from the $1300 that I pay currently, because “rent prices have risen since you signed your lease”. And in addition, this price is a 1 year discounted price, so they’re actually charging $1650 for it if I go month-to-month, and $1600 if I go for a 6-month lease (which apparently has to be approved by the central office these days), and thus the $1550 price is only if I go for a full-year lease at the new apartment. When I only have 7 months left on my lease anyway and plan to get a house after that. They didn’t seem receptive on letting me “transfer” my lease to a new place somehow, nor did they say that there were any bachelor units (0-room) available this month.

I turned that offer down, though apparently it’s still open until the end of the month if I change my mind, and apparently the leasing agent, Loni, will go back and talk to her supervisor (Denise) and the other staff again. I’m not actually in principle against doing a full 1-year lease starting from around now and pushing the house purchase back a few months, but $250 a month extra for 7 or 12 months, on top of moving costs and other miscellaneous pains, is a lot — it does fit in the budget, but I would rather just stay here and use that money to pay for a 2 month vacation to Singapore and Japan, and then pay five months less of rent to my rental company, Midwest Property Management, at this point. If I were to move to another unit, it would have to be basically around the same rent as I’m paying now. Dad also suggested I look into some nearby adult living places instead if I need to rent for another year instead of renting with this place again.

But the loudness equalization setting I found last week for my speaker helped a TON this week — previously the neighbour upstairs was often making more noise than I could drown out even at 100% volume on my speakers several times a day, but this week I’ve barely heard anything at all as long as I had a Twitch stream and/or a game running, often layered on top of a rain noise generator of some kind. It still is pretty horrific that I have to have white noise running 24/7, and I can still barely concentrate on things that require heavy thinking, nor can I approach anywhere near a state of being At Peace with the World, but I was actually at least perfectly calm and non-irritated and even, I dare say, happy through virtually the entire week, which was very nice. And because the loudness equalization thing adds some bass or something, my white noise doesn’t have to be as loud either so it usually works fine enough when set to around the volume level of a small water fountain, which isn’t too bad to have running all the time. I’m not sure it’s a sustainable long-term solution, but it’s a solution that at least doesn’t require me to spend an extra $250/month and stay here another 5 months.

I took this upcoming Monday off, the day after my birthday (which falls on a Sunday this year). This is probably the latest in the year I’ve gone in a long time without using a sick day or a vacation day on a random day, not counting the first couple days of the new year, which were tacked on vacation days to make my Christmas/New Years break last longer.

I’m also getting very strong urges to travel to Asia again, and I may casually peek at tickets over the next week or two. March/April? June? The airplane prices are cheaper now than in December/January.

My one month gift subscriptions to the first couple of channels that I joined and lurked on have now expired. I hadn’t realized that it’s been a full month since I started seriously watching Twitch again. I’ve still been watching them, so I might toss them some actual subscriptions soon to support them.

Satinel has been working on Blender art courses from lately as a complement to her game development skills, and she made a 3D depiction of Tigey using the skills that she had learnt from it. She showed it to me this weekend:

That is indeed a Tigey! A polygonal Tigey that’s a little too flattering for him because he’s a little bit plumper than that. Too much squeezing? The nose and mouth especially are super on point and very cute.


I played a bunch more Against the Storm early in the week, managing to get all the way to unlocking the first Bronze seal, which extends the gameworld time before each inexorable game world board reset (which happens after 5 games or so on a starting map as a storm washes in and messes up the world outside of the central capitol city). That felt enough for me for now though, the game started to feel very samey and slow even with a few newer buildings and mechanics unlocked, and even with higher difficulty levels to attempt. I feel like I got a lot out of the game, especially since I apparently managed to clock 34 hours in it between February 15 and 19.

After I was done with that, I played some No Man’s Sky for a bit, as there was a new Expedition, which seems to be their term for “seasons” where players can earn rewards by starting a new save and doing some goals on it, and then integrating those rewards and that save into their main save (or using that save as their new main save). There was a lot to pick back up after about 6 years of not playing (2018-08-09 was my last main game save point timestamp, and it’s possible that at that time I was just randomly logging in to peek around on my save game), but I seem to be doing okay in that. And it’s relaxing, if somewhat boring. One nice thing I like to do is sit at spaceports and examine ships coming in and out, looking for rare ships. Also even while playing offline, I can see a lot of player bases sitting around the solar systems because I started online and I guess they got imported in, so I’ve also been visiting them and collecting plants and minerals that many of them mark as free stuff for passing players to take.

I watched the sun rise and set from various bases that I didn’t own:

Adopted weird animal pets that I met along the way:

And watched a world burn:

Hades continues to have a good run in my books, I’m winning more consistently now and I think I can 100% the achievements but probably not the actual full game itself (which has a lot of miscellaneous unlocks that do nothing). I’ve finished all the “skill” achievements already, the remaining ones are the “time” ones, aka grinding things out, win or lose. I did finish grinding out the rarest achievement though, which was to max-rank (3-star) all regular keepsakes:

I even managed to die to a bear, which isn’t even an actual creature in the game:

After watching gameplay on Twitch, I picked up two new games late in the week, one being Balatro, a roguelite game based on doing weird things to poker cards, and Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor, a Vampire Survivors-like auto-shooter based on the Deep Rock Galactic universe. The latter is a bit pricier than I like (most other games in the Vampire Survivors genre are only about $5 and this one was $12 for what is basically a lot of recycled assets/systems) but both games seem pretty good so far. The former is tons of fun and apparently has a lot more depth and ridiculousness that I am slowly teasing out of it.

Plushie of the Week #129

Tigey enlisted a amazing new recruit into his army late last week, thanks to Kynji. Meet the veggie dog!

This plushie can camouflage as a walking napa cabbage, and when s/he came in the wrapped up package above, looking exactly like said wrapped up cabbage, I thought Kynji had sent me an actual cabbage at first, as you couldn’t actually see the plushie-ness of the plushie from the way s/he was wrapped up. I don’t know which pronouns the plushie will use yet, and I’m not sure exactly when Kynji sent out the plushie, but s/he arrived on Feb 17 2024, so that is his/her birthday in my book.

Later in the week, I also showed Zian the plushie when we had our weekly/biweekly (it varies) video call, and she filled me in behind what the veggie dog means in the online Chinese Sinosphere as well. In Chinese, the veggie dog is written as Cai Gou, or 菜狗, and that is apparently a reference or homonym of something or other. In the Sinosphere, Veggie Dog or Caigou is a self-depreciating phrase that someone uses to represent how they are bad at something. There aren’t a ton of English references to this, but this site (local) is one such reference. So that’s what Kynji sent me.

Anyway, this amazing napa cabbage veggie dog needs a name, so I’ll leave it up to my friends to name him/her so I don’t end up with another Napatak. There’s no tags on the plushie itself, but here’s some pictures of the actual plushie.



Other side:


Back side:

And finally, here’s the plushie looking at a half-eaten napa cabbage that I happened to have in my fridge on the same day that s/he arrived:

No, that’s not a long-lost relative!!

Song of the Week #106

Title: NO, Thank You!
Artist: Houkago Tea Time
Album: K-ON!! OST (2010)

Besides Pure Pure Heart, this is my favourite song from the K-ON! anime franchise. It’s actually the second ending song from the second season of the show, so it’s basically the song you hear at the end of every episode as the TV series goes into its final arcs, and thus has a lot of sadness and finality associated with it, at least for me. The kind of “graduation is coming, life is fleeting” sensation that is a major theme in Japanese culture.

A lot of my memories of this song are shared with Pure Pure Heart and the other songs from this show that I like, but while Pure Pure Heart didn’t really remind me of actually visiting the school itself, because it’s an insert song from the show that doesn’t get much attention and I like the song in a more generic way that doesn’t connect to the show, this one definitely does additionally remind me of my visit and the entire physical school itself. It was a very neat visit and pilgrimage that I would like to repeat sometime, as it was such an impactful show on me in terms of what sort of anime I gravitated towards watching and liking after that.

Just the starting xylophone chords into the guitar alone are enough to take me back into a bittersweet rabbit hole of pre-COVID and “early anime days” bright-eyed nostalgia. Mmm. That is a xylophone, right? The wiki page (local) for the song has more trivia for it, like how the initials of the main characters’ names spell out the “Thank” part of the title. Interesting.

Writing Prompt of the Week #49

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“Word association exercise: don’t think, just write! What memory comes to mind when you hear the word “spontaneous”?”

Zixiang. He was the one that most embodied spontaneity in our Dunman High‘s Secondary 1-2 class. Spontaneity sometimes equated impulsiveness, especially when we were so young, but it also sometimes just implied going with the flow, and he was the best among us in that.

I don’t have any strong signature memory of him linked to this or anything, but there are a few small ones that tie in to this, for example the Huihan textbook incident from this memory snippet was something borne from him noticing her textbook in class and deciding to bring it along, I believe. He also at least once, possibly more than once, spontaneously decided to visit Kaiting or Rachel‘s house after school to say hi to them, except their house was all the way on the west side of the country, accessible by the MRT train but nearly an hour away from where our school’s nearest train station was.

I don’t think I ever followed him outright to their houses since it was so far, but it’s possible that I did at least take the train to the western station and then back once, since I distinctly remember a memory of me standing by myself at one of those stations (Jurong East or Chinese Gardens) once by myself. Even with my family I seldom visited that part of the country, so I can’t recall any other circumstance thast would ever have led me to one of those stations alone. He would have had to travel from the station to their house by himself still, which was an additional number of minutes on top of the train ride to the station. We all had each others’ addresses and phone numbers due to a spreadsheet that I maintained and printed out for everyone in class though, so at least he was not going totally blind, but I kind of envied his freedom, ability, and willingness to explore the country. I’d like to think that some of my wanderlust (which is a word and policy that he liked a lot and was very big on) was picked up from him.

Oh, another major memory that comes to mind is one I’ve spoken about already, the one when we skipped out from this astronomy camp at night to visit a friends’ place and play some computer games. This was a very important formative event for me that’s been covered on that above page already though.

Memory Snippet of the Week #113

In the Writing Prompt segment above, I talked about a spreadsheet that I maintained and printed copies of for everyone in class. Oddly, I still have a digital copy of the actual spreadsheet of names and addresses for both my class (1L) and the other Secondary 1 GEP class (1K) in Dunman High, each one drawn up in a table in Microsoft Word 97 document of all things, but both of these have a Last Modified field of Sep 12 1997 — a full year and 3 months before I left Singapore.

I do have many surviving physical copies of the spreadsheet/address sheet that both predate and postdate that September 1997 version though, so I must have made a separate copy of the sheet and started working from that copy after that instead of the version I have. That or the diskette I found this spreadsheet on was just a snapshot backup copy that I happened to make (it contains a bunch of other school-related files all dating from around 1997), and this was never my main copy. Either way, later editions of this spreadsheet don’t seem to have digitally survived, but I’m happy that this one did.

As far as I can dig out, Debbie was the one who originally started our class telephone and address list in 1997, since the earliest sheet that I have has her name at the bottom of it. She collected all the relevant information from everyone, and then compiled, printed, and handed out copies of the sheet to everyone in class (and possibly the other GEP class too). I then took over the project, expanding the columns and keeping track of any changes that people would report to me, and occasionally printing out fresh copies for everyone.

I didn’t always print out fresh copies for everyone after every single change since I had to print all these from my parents’ printer, and printing 32 two-sided sheets (in black and blue ink), one for each person, was not exactly trivial in terms of time or money, but I often printed out at least one master copy for myself after each change, which means that even though I don’t have the original sheet anymore, I have something like 40 *physical* copies of the spreadsheet that exist. And since I tracked a version number and date on most of these sheets too, I have 1.0 versions of the sheet stretching back all the way from May 1997 or so, to a version 13.0 (for our Secondary 2L class) and 8.01 (for the neighbouring 2K class) sheet from December 1998, days before I left the country.

Anyway, no one lives at these houses or uses these phone numbers and email addresses anymore, so I’m going to scan and post a few of the more interesting samples for display anyway. These sheets are also where I sourced a lot of information for this list of class websites from, though it’s not the sole source.

This first specimen is the original, and now extremely tattered, sheet that Debbie collated and gave out to everyone:

It would have been dated somewhere around April or May of 1997, most likely, but all it says is /Debbie/Disk/Dunman1. This next sheet was the first one I made, also undated at the time. On all these sheets you can see scribbles all over them, this is as I used the previous physical sheet that I owned as a template for the next one, so when I received word of changes or fixes, I let people add them to the sheet itself and then would update it on my digital copy once I got home.

That above one would also have been from around April/May 1997. One thing I collected here, and over the next couple sheets, but eventually dropped entirely upon feedback, were our PSLE scores, as they weren’t really something that needed to exist on an address sheet. Still, they exist on these sheets, so they’re an interesting data point that I have and can show.

PSLE scores, our Primary 6 end of year nationwide exam totals, go up to a maximum of 300, and us Dunman High sturents were generally considered the bottom of the crop of the GEP students as the other three GEP secondary schools were more “prestigious” but all the GEP students had to go somewhere even if they didn’t make it into any of those schools. Many of the students in the regular track in Dunman High (i.e. the 1A to 1J classes) actually had better grades than us in the GEP too, so we always felt a bit looked down upon by the teachers at least. Just a bit. Still, the GEP was looking for other things besides grades as well, like intangibles such as lateral logic thinking, so that’s why we were selected for the program I guess.

This next 2.0 version is the first one that uses a new template that I would keep for the rest of the time that I maintained this file:

And this 2.32 version is the first one that I have a date attached to — May 27 1997:

I also took over the address/telephone roster list for the other GEP class in our cohort, Secondary 1K, which also contained a lot of people from the same primary schools that most of us had gone to (including Rosyth). I have no idea who made their original sheet, but this was their sheet before I took it over:

And I took it over around the same time that I started to attach a date to these sheets, May 27 1997 for version 1.0:

The digital version of the spreadsheets that I saved also have a physical version, and they’re these two sheets, Version 2.5/3.11 (dated Sep 09 1997) for the 1K class, and Version 6.1 (also dated Sep 09 1997) for the 1L class:

Seriously, some of these sheets — I even have one where I collected everyone’s Singapore ID number for some reason, and it’s all written down in pencil on the side of a sheet. That one is far too private though and thankfully never made it onto an actual printed copy. Anyway, Zhuquan left at the end of 1997 so he was no longer on any of the 1998 2K/2L sheets, but I do have a bunch of them anyway, and will display the final, latest one I have — for Secondary 2K, a Version 8.01 one dated Dec 12 1998, and for Secondary 2L, a Version 13.0 one dated Oct 30 1998. At this point I was printing them together on opposite sides of the same sheet of paper, so I know that there was likely no “later” version of the 2L one too.

As a random sidenote, while going through my file, I also saw that I had gone down to talk to our kouhais, the Secondary 1K/1L cohort that came in the year after we did, and for some reason I had also compiled a class roster with similar columns for them. We weren’t super close so I never kept these lists up to date, so hopefully someone in their class took the mantle from there to keep them updated for their year, but I’m surprised I have these at all. This was a sheet that I received from one of the people in the 1998 1K class:

And I made a list for both them and the new 1L class to fill in:

Phew. Now to spend the rest of the week scanning the other 30-40ish sheets that I have. It’s been a long time gathering up the willpower and time and concentration needed to start to scan these address lists and write out this section. Sadly, I don’t have any such sheet from Rosyth or any of my other schools (except for my 1-year course in NAIT, much, much later in 2005-2006).

Feb 19 2024
  • Snippet: I remember repairing things on a big world map with other players, where the repair process involved induction circles that lasted 2-3 minutes each. There were different game levels that we progressed through as a group, and on some levels there seemed to be nothing to repair.
  • Snippet: A big sister character came to a dormitory house to look for me and a few other people as she wanted to study overnight, but everyone including me was hiding from her in our rooms for some reason. I heard her talking outside in the main area and sounding a bit annoyed that she couldn’t find us.
  • Snippet: I was taking a trip to the USA and was at a counter in an airport, presenting my passport to the woman seated behind the counter. She pointed out that my passport would expire in June 2024, in 6 months, and that I needed to go renew it soon. She said that due to that I could only be allowed in for up to 2 months. I nodded and said that I was in the process of renewing it already, even though I hadn’t actually started it.
Feb 20 2024
  • I remember a user interface with a 3×3 grid of buttons over the entire “screen” in a part of my dream that was fashioned like a game, with each button being a conversation answer that I could use in response to a question. In the middle of the grid was an option to do with berries that I remembered from a past dream somehow.
  • Later on, I was comparing a game map of a zone that I had explored along with Kel, and we were looking at how many overhead bridges over the roads we had found in the zone. She said that she had eight, but I only saw two on mine even though I had explored the map with her. I realized that the others were hidden underneath other map icons though, and I right clicked on the icon filter and selected “Move to Top” for the overhead bridge icons, which made all of them visible.
  • However, I realized that I had nine bridge icons, not eight, laid out roughly in rows — 1 in the top row of the map, 4 in the upper middle, 3 in the lower middle, and 2 at the bottom. Kel only had 1, 3, 3, and 2. After a while, I realized that this was because there was one overhead bridge going over the road that bordered the zone on the west, so its left side of the bridge was outside the zone and its right side was inside the zone. She didn’t count that bridge in her calculations, whereas I did. Dad happened to pass by us and said that that bridge should count.
  • The scene transitioned to a room with our Edmonton 4012 dining table, with Mom and Jon eating a meal on it. Suddenly, a cockroach crawled onto the table and landed on Mom‘s food. She got annoyed at this and said something about the situation that I don’t remember now.
Feb 21 2024
  • Snippet: I was holding an interview for someone, this was the second time I had interviewed him as I remembered this interview from a previous dream before, and he knew it too. I had to recycle a few questions from before, but I threw in a few new ones as well.
  • Snippet: Jon brought some clothes back to the cashier of a clothes shop for Kel, who had bought a bunch of clothes from the store recently due to their permissive 100% refund policy. But she was not able to come to return it herself today as she was headed off somewhere, so Jon came with about 4-6 hangers with clothes on them as though they just came out of the drycleaners. I was in the store watching him, as he made a suggestion to the cashier on how they could be more efficient, then the cashier told him something rude in reply and he bowed his head in apology.
  • Snippet: In another part of the dream, there was a yellow and red grass clearing and for some reason I and others were clearing rocks, lots of them.
  • Snippet: Finally, there was a part of the dream where I visited a cafeteria with some friends. Hoho’s owned three stalls in that cafeteria, along with a cashier, which came out to about half the cafeteria stalls, but they were closing down by the time I reached there so I couldn’t eat from them. After confirming with one of the attendants that that was the case, I looked toward another one of the stalls that was selling fried rice or something instead.
Feb 22 2024
  • Snippet: All I remember is a specific scene of two magical girls floating outside a warehouse-like building of some sort, next to a truck. I know this was part of a larger plot involving several characters but I cannot recall the context of any of that, just that one scene snapshot.
Feb 25 2024
  • After scouting out some of the rooms in a building and looking for a boss in there to fight, I left the building and assembled some of my friends or guildmates into a raiding group of about 10-12 people to return to the building to clear it out. The building was a four-storey haunted house, with a front entrance lobby and elevator area once we stepped in, and each subsequent floor was also a lobby area with a room on the left and two rooms on the right.
  • On the bottom level of the house, we ran into my Mom, who emerged from one of the doors there just as we entered the front lobby. I was hoping not to meet her so as to not have to tell her about the group that I was leading and worry her unnecessarily, but since we met up in the end anyway, I requested that she flee the building to safety. She ended up doing so without lecturing me or anything like that.
  • On the second level, there was a friendly cafeteria on the room on the left side of the central lobby, with people who obliviously visited the place to enjoy a nice meal without caring about the rest of the zone. On the right side was an enemy rest area, two separate rooms next to each other which contained meeting tables and office chairs and where a bunch of enemy navy seals, who were on break from their roles as enemy mobs, were seated. We couldn’t fight them since they were on break, so Harvey, who was part of my group, chatted up some of them who seemed amiable enough.
  • On the third level, there was a room on the right that led into an area that was a small outdoor diorama of a Japanese park in winter. There was a small layer of snow on the ground, a couple of park benches around, and an attendant woman who was taking care of a bunny that was walking around on his hind legs and hitched to a little toy cart that it was pulling around. The toy cart was maybe big enough for a little infant to sit on at most.
  • It was very cute though, and apparently there was a larger cart that was pulled by two bunnies as well, but someone had rented that one and they were off wandering somewhere outside the diorama at the moment. I learnt that the world outside the diorama actually existed, but could not be accessed through the door that we came in, which offered us just this specific sample of Japan. To leave the boundary and explore the rest of the park, we had to go visit the actual place.
  • I was asked to fill in a survey about the bunny on a tablet that the attendant handed me, but I noticed that the group of people I had assembled was easily distracted by things and kept wandering off, so I couldn’t fill in a detailed report. I noted that all the other submitted survey replies I could see were also in English despite this being Japan, copied part of a template that said that the bunny was cute, and then tried to write another meaningless platitude but ended up erasing it. I instead added that I noticed that they had a feature where they could attach a small video camera to the bunny’s head to record a video while it was pulling someone around on a cart, and suggested they should consider seeing if they could turn that into an Internet livestream somehow as it would surely be popular. I wasn’t sure if they could get Internet access all the way out here though.
  • When I got back to my raid group outside, about half of them had wandered back into an elevator which took them back down to the first floor, even though we had walked all the way up here. I had to round them up and have everyone come up to where we were again. We then went up to the final floor.
  • The final floor had a couple of doors on the right again, and I had a key for one of them. There was a larger door leading to a room that was already cleared out and had not respawned yet, and I said that the key actually was for a smaller, unmarked door inside that room. On the other side of that door was a small four-feet high waterfall leading to a pool and then, once we jumped down the waterfall into the pool, another building on the far side which I was trying to get to where the enemies were.
  • While explaining all this though, a couple people from my group wandered off again, and several others remained in the lobby with me but started to try to find matching sets of four plushies from a large pyramidal pile of plushies on the floor there. I said that they were silly for trying to look for four dolphin plushies in the pile when I was very obviously holding one of them already and there were only four of them in total with no extras.

Previous Entry

My Diary #132

Next Entry

2024 Unofficial Galaxies at Southgate Centre

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments