My Diary #141

Dear Tigey,

I didn’t want to do another truncated blog post so soon after my last truncated post two weeks ago, so here we are. And here we soon won’t be.

Entry #141 (Apr 21 2024)

Life

I have also created a new Day 0 page for my upcoming trip, so stuff that is strictly trip-related will go in there, whereas this blog post will hold all the other stuff that happened this week. As always there is a bit of overlap though, like the haircut I tend to have before I head off on a trip (since that also benefits and affects my day to day life), and when there is such an overlap where it can fit in either post, the entry will be in here rather than there.

John is my hero. He’s the Rent Midwest handyman from Malaysia that’s been making the rounds lately, be it replacing my lights and faucets at the old place or helping me move out. This week, he was passing by my floor when he knocked on my door to chat, since I had told him where I was moving to and he was aware that the place had just vacated and had done some work on it before I moved in as well. We chatted a bit, because he knew I was leaving for Japan at the end of the week and then eventually Malaysia and Singapore too, and I knew he was heading directly to Singapore and Malaysia later this week for a vacation of his own.

Anyway, he asked about my apartment, and I told him that my main problem was the weak pressure on the shower faucet/showerhead, and that both the front desk attendant and the first maintenance worker that came by had said that that couldn’t be changed or fixed, and that was the standard for this apartment, etc. John basically went “Oh. I have a shower head with me, let me try it.” and pulled a new shower head out of the box of tools that he had brought with him for his work order at another unit. He unscrewed the old, large faucet and attached the new, smaller one, and hey presto, now my shower worked exactly like in the old apartment, with reasonably strong water jets and not streams of water that leave the shower head and just kinda become flaccid.

We theorized that the issue with the old one was probably just that it was too big so the water couldn’t flow in fast enough to make a strong jet unless one turned the shower head to the mode where only four jets of water were shooting out of it. Anyway, this new one is much better and basically solves the last big issue I have with the apartment for now, so yay. I’d say that he earned himself a text hover flair on my blog for that, but I apparently already added that for him last week or the week before.

The previous occupant of the house had a package delivered here to me this week, and as I was out getting a haircut at the time, it ended up in the Canada Post parcel delivery locker downstairs, with the key to the specific locker then placed in my mailbox. She contacted the rental office, who contacted me to retrieve the key once I returned, and I took a couple of pictures of the key before surrendering it to the office.

It’s a bit different from the one at my last apartment even though the two apartment blocks are neighbours. She had a second Amazon Prime package delivered to my doorstep this week too, a wrapped up video that was just sitting in front of my apartment door when I opened it. How careless. I returned it to the office and the girl there rolled her eyes in sympathy too. Good luck with any packages that arrive there from next week onwards, Beth!

The birds continued their visits to my balcony, and I noticed that they even were walking back and forth between my balcony and my neighbour’s one.

But hold up, they were leaving gifts for me too:

Bird poop! A good amount of it too, there was a bunch offscreen to the left of the picture. I swept the balcony on Saturday, April 20th, and took a picture of that, and will hopefully remember to take another picture when I return home to compare the two.

I had a nice sunset picture this week from Monday:

Then a cloudy Tuesday one with birds flying by:

But then Mother Nature dropped more poop our way on Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning:

Snow! In mid-April! The horror.

I saw this scene of students gathered around in a ball and waiting for a school bus or something while visiting Southgate Centre on April 16 for groceries:

It reminded me of Kyoto last year, especially around tourist attractions, as many school trips were also often organized to those places and we saw dozens of scenes very similar to this. However, in Edmonton, and especially in Southgate Mall? This never happens. Never seen it in all my years here. Thus I thought that it was endearing and also a portent of what I might see in Japan once I jaunted off there too. Like the fabric of reality was getting a bit wrinkled and mixing up the future with the present. Anyway these students wore blazers that said “Highwood Band Program” on it, and from a cursory bit of Googling, that’s probably from Highwood High School in High River, a town about an hour’s travel on the highways south of Calgary (which is itself about 3 hours south of Edmonton).

I passingly mentioned this earlier, but on Tuesday this week I had my customary haircut (and dyeing session) before I leave on a trip. I used a small barbershop instead of a hair salon/boutique this time, so it “only” came out to around $150 instead of the usual $250 or so after taxes and tip. It was also notable in that for about a five minute period during the haircut, the guy had me stand up in the middle of the shop while he trimmed my hair from next to me. That was certainly a first for me, standing up while getting my hair cut. Not sure why that was needed, but at least it was memorable!

That Last Stop Moving company. They finally refunded me my $100 last week, and this week I received a text asking for a review if I enjoyed the service. Oh boy. Can you tell I like writing things? I gave them a two star review and this rant on Google:

I immediately got a phone call from Harry, the sales manager who had negotiated my moving contract, right after that. Trying to explain and find out how they could “achieve a five star experience”. He said he had been out of town the past week and thus wasn’t there during the move to do the payment and wasn’t there to deal with the refund, which is bull to me since he called me from the company line twice before the move, answered me on the company line once after I moved, and then the other person, Mattie, who finally got the refund processed, answered the same company line when I called them last Friday.

He also chalked up some of the errors to “miscommunication” and said that he would pass some of the feedback to the two movers. He also said they they were paid out with an amount equvalent to 3 hours of work, wheres I had to pay a minimum 2 hours worth (plus one hour truck fee) so to them it was probably well within the “minimum 3 hours” mark for them. This was a weird excuse to me. Neither of them were even new, both had been here for a year he said.

Anyway, whatever. The phone call was very much “how can we get a 5 star review”. He offered to refund the mattress packaging material charge (as I had specifically requested NOT to have it wrapped because I had already put it in a mattress bag) and I agreed, but a day and a half later nothing had moved yet, so I edited the review into this:

I had long since ran afoul of the character limit so parts of the earlier review were deleted and parts of what I wanted to write were also pared down to make it all fit.

The day after that, I received a call from someone from Last Stop Moving who, this time, was waiting patiently downstairs in the apartment lobby with “a package”. I went downstairs to receive them, and they gave me a $15 gift card to Starbucks, a hand-written apology greetings card, and a replacement magnifying glass that I had repeatedly said they did not need to replace. I wonder where they found it, since I don’t even remember exactly where I found it myself, just that it was cheap and didn’t work well. I don’t drink or patronize Starbucks either. I thought this was the refund for the mattress bag, which was $12, but I also received an actual $12 refund on top of everything in my bank account shortly after, so it seemed like the gift card was on top of that. Whatever. In the end, I gave them back a star to make it a 3-star review, and it will stay there unless they refund me another $30 to $40 for the 15 minutes the movers wasted at the end (which I don’t have any expectations that they will do, and never at any point asked for as well.)

I also removed the “I do not recommend” line at this point (it didn’t fit anyway) since they did try to mollify me somewhat, but I will definitely be personally picking someone else for my next move.

This is the scan of the card. I’m not sure I can fully transcribe what was written on it.

But again, nice gesture.

I got a text mid-week saying that the driver going down to Calgary to pick up the passports for the travel agency that I used to apply for my China visa was delayed, and if I could come down (to their office in HUB Mall at the University of Alberta) on Friday instead of Thursday to pick it up. That was thankfully fine by my schedule still so I said yes. I picked it up without incident, and while I was there, took a picture of the weekly Rutherford Library question board:

And lastly, the evening sky visible from my computer desk is so good for my soul:

Games

I played a little bit of Minecraft this week, and visited another person’s colony.

Minecolonies is nice, isn’t it? I haven’t really started on mine so mine is mostly a partially flat field still. We also found a pregenerated haunted house, complete with ghosts and everything. It was really nice. Excuse the wiggly, red buff squiggles that float up around me and get in the way of screenshots.

I stopped playing midweek though to concentrate on trip preparation. After that, on Wednesday, I finally made good a promise from last week and 100%’d my Hades run:

Unfortunately what actually happened in the epilogue, which was my last achievement, is a secret:

So it cannot be shared on the blog. It took me 101 runs, and that included 32 wins (30 of them on the “easier” god mode, with my first two done without god mode.) 104 hours is a nice mark to end at too, it’s just over the 100 hour mark which is the other milestone besides 100% achievements completion that I like to achieve for games that I like.

Due to trip prep I didn’t play a whole lot else, though I did squeeze in some Backpack Battles near the end of the week. I’ll have to ponder (and haven’t decided, as of time of writing) what games to put on my Steam Deck that I’m bringing with me.

Plushie of the Week #136

This set of 4 plushies are from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, although apparently according to family records we actually bought them in Toronto instead, when either Kel or Jon visited it back then. We have no clue how much we bought it for, though. Probably retail price, which seems to be $10 per plushie according to their tags. There are a lot of pictures since there are four plushies, so enough of me yapping — here are the pictures instead.

All plushies front:

All plushies back:

And now for their tags. From left to right, the first one is Mukmuk. Main tag front:

Main tag back:

Name tag:

The second one is Quatchi. Main tag front:

Main tag back:

Name tag:

The third plushie is Sumi. Main tag front:

Main tag back:

Name tag:

Name tag back/Tag 3 front:

Tag 3 back/Tag 4 front:

Tag 4 back:

The last plushie is Miga. Main tag front:

Main tag back:

Name tag:

Price tag:

Song of the Week #113

Title: You’ll Never Walk Alone
Artist: Gerry and the Pacemakers
Album: How Do You Like It? (1963)

Although I am not a Liverpool FC fan, as our family supports Manchester United instead, this is a song that the Liverpool Football Club in the English Premier League uses as their team anthem, and is my favourite team anthem by far in any sport. It’s also a real song outside of the realm of football/soccer, and was originally a song from a musical before being covered by Gerry and the Pacemakers and then adopted by Liverpool.

Although I’m not linking any of them as the main video for the song below this segment, there are many videos of Liverpool fans holding their scarves up and singing the song at Anfield, their home stadium, before the start of a game. Like this one. It is very moving, especially when one looks into the song and some of the tragedies that have been linked to it (by virtue of it being used as a song to commemorate one of several soccer-related accidents and disasters). Though Liverpool isn’t remotely the only team to have suffered tragedies and have songs linked to memorials of those tragedies, the poignant lyrics are very fitting as both a show of support for their team on the field as well as a farewell for the dearly departed, so it hits particularly hard as a memorial song as well. It also has mythical status due to events like this famous comeback in Istanbul in 2005 when they were down 3-0 at halftime in the Champions League final, were serenaded by fans during the half time break, and then came back to win somehow. Or this one, when they were seeing off one of their longest-serving captains.

There’s a lot of history behind anthemic songs like this, just the way I like them. Anyway, out of all my friends, Zixiang was (and I assume still is) known as a huge Liverpool FC fan, and I strongly associate this song with him and the time that we spent hanging out in Secondary 2 back in 1998 as well.

Writing Prompt of the Week #56

This week’s writing prompt reads:

What did you do that your parents didn’t want you to? Did you get caught?

I’m not sure I’ve ever done anything particularly scandalous to put into here. The main answer to this would be that I would get a daily allowance to take to school for lunch in secondary school, but outside of the occasional pack of fries at Kallang McDonalds, I saved most of the money and instead invested it into occasional packs of L5R card booster packs bought from a card shop at Century Square in Tampines, the MRT station closest to where I lived and thus where I passed by almost every day. Usually by myself, but sometimes with Zixiang or Huihan, and now residing in a part of my brain where I have lots of musical, magical memories embedded into.

Memory Snippet of the Week #120

As the last remnants of my move away from Edmonton 205 to my new apartment (as yet unnamed) drift away in the sands of time, I wanted to reflect on a couple memories I have of my original move in to Edmonton 205 back in July 2011.

Although that room was a one-room apartment, we were initially looking for a studio apartment, much like the one I have now. They didn’t have one back then though, so with my Dad‘s help I settled for a one-room apartment instead. But he managed to help negotiate the price down so that it started at $888 a month instead of $950 or whatever it was at that point. I remember he specifically said something to the effect of “Could we have $888 instead as the Chinese consider 8 to be a lucky number?” in response to a $900 offer. It might not sound like much, but every dollar saved per month early on adds up, especially when future leases are often based on the previous lease amount plus some value. By the time I left 10 years later in April 2024, it was up to $1,479 a month, $1,579 if on a month-to-month lease.

Another question I remember my Dad asking was a very pointed “Are any of the rooms haunted? Has anyone ever passed away here?” And something about our beliefs as well. The property manager’s answer was a no. I remember thinking about that late at night when I was lying in bed (on the same mattress I have now, atop the bedframe that I just got rid of during the move out) and listening to the occasional weird noise going bump in the night.

Lastly, I remember Dad helping me move in by putting stuff in the family minivan in our Edmonton 4012 house and then moving them over to Edmonton 205. I don’t remember how we got the bedframe there though, as that seemed too big to fit in the minivan, but I do remember Dad and I lifting it up the stairs and somehow turning all the corners and bringing it into the hallway and then the apartment bedroom. Or maybe we had Uncle Droy helping Dad instead of me? I doubt it but I don’t remember for sure. I do remember wondering how we’d ever get the bedframe out again though.

They also provided plastic sheets for the walls and carpets for the floors so that they wouldn’t get stained (walls) or creased (large carpets) as much. I hated the large carpets though and eventually got rid of them all. There were two of them, one for the computer table in the main hall and one for the bedframe in the bedroom, but after a while due to “furniture drift”, both carpets were wrinkled instead of flat while still being underneath the heavy furniture, and torn as well due to the vacuum. I don’t remember when, or how, I managed to get the rug out from under the bed and toss that one away, as I don’t remember ever being able to move the bedframe myself so someone must have helped me and I certainly don’t remember that happening either, but the one under the computer desk finally left the house and my life when I had to move all my furniture around during my bedbug crisis.

I still have a lot of the furniture that I was either given while moving in or acquired shortly after moving in — my computer table, which has part of the wooden side cracked and peeling now, my computer chair, which is basically a kitchen chair, a couple of stools and plastic chairs that are all in various stages of broken now, three plastic drawer sets that are slightly flimsy, a microwave that Jon made fun of when he was last here as the numbers on the keypad panel have basically all withered away by now, a shoddy wooden table that said microwave sits on, and a few other things besides. Why bother replacing things that still work?

Dreams
Apr 19 2024
  • Snippet: I don’t remember much except that I was in a small room inside a larger room-like area, and I was doing something in there that someone outside the room whom I considered unfriendly or antagonistic did not like. It was something that was time-limited, or perhaps mildly illegal from the point of view of the person outside, but I don’t remember what it was nor the context around the scene.
Apr 20 2024
  • I was walking or flipping (like moving from scene to scene in a game) through static displays of several neighbourhoods, each one represented by a front area divided into small little squares and surrounded by a backdrop of impassable scene objects, similar to how a stage has a front area where people can walk on and a back area that is curtains and decorations.
  • Each neighbourhood grid area had a number of wooden planks of varying shapes and sizes lying in haphazard piles, and there were some people slowly carrying off wooden planks on their own. I could move the stacks of planks much quicker than other people individually could, but there were a lot of them, and I moved some as I dug through the piles in different neighbourhoods.
  • In particular, I was looking for wood tiles that were of a 2×2 square shape, as there were four or five of them that could be used to fly, similar to a magic carpet or a surfboard. At least one had been tracked down already and had apparently been taken into the home of a private collector, and while I could sense many nearby homes and knew that I could enter them to look for it, it would be difficult and time-consuming to search until I accidentally stumbled upon the right house while there were three or four other planks still up for grabs.
  • I wasn’t worried in the end though because I knew that I was the protagonist, and so I would pretty much be guaranteed to find at least one.

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