Trip's Brain-Sucking Web Site


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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

5 Most Recent Comments
2014-03-23:  "Re: Party!" by Trip
2014-03-23:  "Party!" by Avalon
2014-03-22:  "Pie" by Avalon
2014-03-20:  "Re: Raising Steam" by marith
2014-03-20:  "Re: Raising Steam" by Trip

11 April 2014 - Friday

Too sleepy to brain.

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10 April 2014 - Thursday

More interviews, also ¾ unproductive. But I escaped the office early so I could spend some time with Avalon before being sucked into the pits of recruiting.

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9 April 2014 - Wednesday

Up until 98264589 o'clock interviewing guys in India, of which at least ¾ were unworthy.

Maybe I should have let the cats help more.

Judge vol 1 (Yoshiki Tonogai) is deathtrap psychological horror: a bunch of random bozos are kidnapped and locked up, while mysterious messages say that if they can't agree on one person to sacrifice, they all get the chop.

Is The Waking Engine (David Edison) New Weird? It is certainly Infinite City (examples: Perdido Street Station, Rats and Gargoyles, Thunderer, although they are not literally infinite), which I think is pretty much always a subgenre of New Weird. Anyway, it has death and shamanism and liches in skyscrapers and pilots in barrels and transformations and depraved aristocrats with weapons from the dawn of time.

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8 April 2014 - Tuesday

So far the customers are not as horrible this week, but on the other hand, I have more late-night interviews scheduled for tomorrow.

The Alchemist's Revenge (Peter Cakebread) is set in the world of Clockwork & Chivalry, with Puritans in clockwork tanks vs Royalist mages alchemists, turning all England into a war zone with both opportunities and obstacles for avenging wrongful deaths.

Scarlet Heroes is an OSR game, but with some interesting differences. It is intended for one player and one GM (take that, fiendish schedule) to play through OD&D or AD&D modules. PCs have the same hit points, but monsters take damage directly to hit dice; the same kind of damage dice are used but they are read very differently: 1 => 0, 2-5 => 1, 6-9 => 2, 10+ => 4. This adds up to monster hit points and all damage being reduced by a factor of about five, so that the one PC takes as much killing as the whole party of five would in regular D&D. The PC has one die of damage that can be freely inflicted on anyone of equal or lower level each round, so hordes of mooks melt away like butter. Finally, the PC can take two dice of damage (bigger dice each time) to either escape certain doom, or make it past something they don't have the skills for by complete coincidence. (The skill system is freeform backgrounds, very much like 13th Age's and not very old-school. It also rolled on 2d8, like saves, instead of 1d20 like attacks, I guess to avoid accusations of having a la-di-dah system instead of rules.)

The setting is mostly Asian, with some vikings and dwarves and assorted others who also got driven into Campaign Archipelago tucked into the corners, and the locals (who got tagged with unflattering names like "orc" and "goblin" but are pretty much human) in the areas no one with metal weapons wants. The bestiary is all obscure Asian monsters too, since you can get popular monsters from existing material.

Twelve paws!

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7 April 2014 - Monday

Workingu, workingu, la la la.

Angelfall and World After (Susan Ee) entertain me because not only is it set in places I know, or at least have seen, but I recognize the self-defense moves the protagonist uses as being from IMPACT. Those angels are pretty sketchy as divine beings, though. Maybe the third book will explain some of that.

Twelve paws!

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6 April 2014 - Sunday

How do we play this game again?

Oh yah, I make up stuff to annoy the PCs! However, in the end, they managed to capture one catgirl ninja and fight the others to a draw long enough to get her to the Empress and get rid of the -2 penalty on all other activities that no one ever remembered to inflict on them. Then we tried to remember what we were doing in Jeremy's adventure, which was both ages ago for the players and out of chronological order for the PCs. We got it to a place where we could leave it until the current time, and then subjected Hyacinthe to a visit to the place where her entire family was brutally massacred by plant monsters. There was still a clue there, although it is pretty ambiguous. We are pretty sure something freaky was going on when Hyacinthe's ancestress was sacrificing PoWs and rhubarb monsters to make magic weapons. Even more freaky, I mean.

Okko vol 1 (Hub) is a French comic about about a ronin and his strange companions (a PC group if I ever saw one) in not-Japan, vs pirates and vampires and stuff. It is totally a Legend of the Five Rings adventure.

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5 April 2014 - Saturday

I continue to be not on call, but also lazy.

Not too lazy to go to Monkeycat Towers for friendship and pizza, however!

  • Princess Tutu 1-2: Ballet battle, Duck vs Anteaterina!
  • Slayers Revolution 5: Finally we learn some about Pokota. And [SPOILER] is back!
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 41: Kimblee's motto seems to be "I can always get new henchmen".
  • Shakugan no Shana season 3 7-8: Villainous dialog!

Zenn Scarlett and Under Nameless Stars (Christian Schoon) are YA space adventure with alien animals, but I think the animals fail on a) cube-square law (yes, even in Mars gravity), and b) nothing makes sense in biology except in light of evolution. These are very traditional SF-biology failings, but they still sadden me.

Twelve paws!

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4 April 2014 - Friday

I'm not on call any more! Yay!

But, Avalon is dealing with Impending Family Drama, so no date tonight. I will have to go blblblbl and read stuff and pet cats.

Sarah Monette's "Doctrine of Labyrinths" series was not received as well as it should have been by the Philistinate, so she had to publish The Goblin Emperor as Katherine Addison. Perhaps this time she will get her proper due, because this book is pretty good. It's not perfect — some of the antagonists are gratuitously (although not unrealistically) awful — but I liked most of the characters and strongly approve of the protagonist's attempts to not suck despite being an untrained hereditary ruler.

Although this book is fantasy, the genre elements are not at all central. All the important characters in the book are elves, goblins, or hybrids, but they are pretty human except for including mobile ears in their body language. Likewise, although there are steampunk elements (airships, pneumatic mail tubes) and magic, they're almost entirely background and the story would probably work almost as well without them. On the other hand, the secondary world elements (language, social structure) are very nicely done, so it's not like it could have been historical fiction.

Hurray, Shadow Unit vol 14 (Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, Leah Bobet, Will Shetterly) is out! Oh the doom! But it would nice if there were a little more development of WTF is going on.

Carl recommended Norse Code (Greg van Eeekhout), but it turns out I had read it before, I just didn't remember the name. It seems suitably bleak in some ways, but I still like the Pitts books better for modern Norse myth.

Dictatorial Grimoire (Ayumi Kanou) ends with volume 3, and not really that much doom. It may have been anticlimactic, but "Yah, so?" was clearly the correct answer to Cinderella's big reveal.

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3 April 2014 - Thursday

I could not escape early today because there was a meeting right up until the end, but at least I escaped from that without too many action items.

Dinocalypse Now (Chuck Wendig) is one of the tie-in novels Evil Hat put out for Spirit of the Century. It is okay but kind of over the top. Maybe I don't actually have the pulp sensibility after all.

A fiction book with no specfic elements? Who am I, and what have I done with Trip?! Well, wherever I stashed him, I used the time to read Panic (Lauren Oliver), which is about desperate teenagers behaving in self-destructive ways for arguably good (or at least optimistic) reasons, which they wouldn't have to do if the adults around them didn't suck.

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2 April 2014 - Wednesday

I was here for thirteen hours yesterday, so when the Horrible Customer became quiet I unilaterally figured the stock price could survive my leaving after only eight hours today, to do all the stuff I would have done yesterday. Like Avalon! And also returnng library books and eating pizza and petting cats.

Princeless vol 1 (Jeremy Whitley, M Goodwin) is not terribly original, but I am very much in favor of princesses rescuing themselves and even being sensibly clad. I'm not sure about that sidekick, though.

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1 April 2014 - Tuesday

Date with hot internet girlfriend: FAIL, due to Horrible Customer.

Getting library books back on time: FAIL, due to Horrible Customer.

Dinner: FAIL, due to Horrible Customer.

Going to bed on time: FAIL, due to Horrible Customer.

The main characters of Rat Queens vol 1 (Kurtis J Wiebe, Roc Upchurch) are totally what Amazon Quartet of Justice would have become without the moral compass of Sophia.

Volume 3 of Saga (Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples) needs more weirdness, but at least they found a way to bring back the spider-monster.

4 right paws + 4 orange paws + 4 left paws + 4 white paws + 4 front paws + 4 brown paws + 4 back paws = 12 adorable paws!

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31 March 2014 - Monday

Spent all day on Webex with the same horrible customer, fixing things but somehow never making them happy.

Also, no Avalon for me.

The 13th Age version of the Midgard Bestiary is not quite as inspiring as the actual 13th Age bestiary, but it's not bad. The monsters have a lot of setting stuck to them, but it's easy to soak that off and repaint.

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30 March 2014 - Sunday

I got called at 1:30 and again at about 3:00 for more work stuff, which did not work as well as it might have because my RSA token was still at Monkeycat Towers. I managed to get down there and back and eat lunch before the horrible customer returned again (horribly).

Horrible, horrible customer.

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29 March 2014 - Saturday

I got called for work just as I was trying to head out into the pouring rain to get lunch and go to Monkeycat Towers, but it was an easy question and did not delay me excessively.

Today, Birthday Dinner II: Sushi Boogaloo, now with added Dave and Ja Baby! Om nom nom nom nom.

Work kindly (though of course inadvertantly) waited until we were almost done with dinner to call me and make me spend an hour and a half trying to mollify Big Customer X while everyone failed to watch anime until finally I told them to give up on me.

  • Slayers Revolution 3-4: I only saw part of 4, but so far it doesn't seem like there has been any new information about Prehensile-Ears Plushie. A magic-user in a cardboard box makes a pretty good substitute for a magic tank, though.
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 39-40: Making deals with things in bottles is always a good plan!
  • Shakugan no Shana season 3 6: Yes, all Flame Hazes are like that.

The Seven Deadly Sins vol 1 (Nakaba Suzuki) is pretty standard overpowered shonen fantasy, with giant pig and cleavage (not together).

Emilie and the Hollow World and Emilie and the Sky World (Martha Wells) are fantasy/steampunk YA adventure in exotic locations. They don't push the bounds of the genre, but are fun. In fact, while reading the end of the second one, I missed my stop on the last train of the night and had to ride the bus back from California Avenue like an idiot.

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28 March 2014 - Friday

I escaped work early today, but it doesn't matter because I'm on call. Also Avalon is busy.

I finished the third disc of Strawberry Panic. Love triangles everywhere! And no, Yaya does not just admire Hikari and want to be her friend. (If she did, she would remember to kiss with her mouth and not with her hands.)

The Wyld Hunt (Gunnar Roxen) is more or less cyberpunk, although it has psionics, and apparently magic and living gods (which might be psionics, or maybe the psionics is magic), along with the last two honest cops in Neo-London. However, it is also cheesy and poorly edited, because "first published as an Amazon ebook" is this decade's "direct to video".

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27 March 2014 - Thursday

No interviews tonight, but Big Customer X's problem kept me at work forever, and then once I finally got home, I had to do more work until it was after bedtime again.

Marmalade did not try to eat my headset this time.

My hardcopy of Go Get a Roomie! (Chloé C) finally came in, so I read it. It is still very cute.

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26 March 2014 - Wednesday

More late-night interviews, with worse candidates, but at least this time I wasn't trying to do laundry at the same time.

Marmalade, do not eat my headset!

Sadly, Razor's Edge (Martha Wells) is an official Star Wars novel, so we do not get to see Princess Leia jump the butch Twi'lek pirate. But she totally should have.

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25 March 2014 - Tuesday

No bonus after-hours work today, just the usual work. But no Avalons. Only cats and Strawberry Panic.

Dragon Venom (Lawrence Watt-Evans) wraps up the trilogy neatly, but it's so neat that I have to wonder how that system came to be. Also, it cries out for a fourth book where people go, "Holy crap, how can we get back to the days of ravening dragons of death?"

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24 March 2014 - Monday

Ack, where did this Monday come from? And why does it have extra bonus interviews from 20:00 to 23:00? Also, why was only one of the four people we interviewed even slightly acceptable? Maybe I should see if Marmalade can eat their Internet connections so they never bother us again.

Since Darkness is a published author, I figured I should read some of her books. Matchbox Girls and Infinity Key were pretty good! And so, so full of doom.

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23 March 2014 - Sunday

Despite immense amounts of worrying (not preparation, just worrying, at least on my part), the online party went okay! Many people I had not seen in aeons showed up, miraculously not dead! Some of them showed up before the party officially started, because they are in very late time zones, but that is okay.

A partial list of people who attended (because even though I know and adire them all, it is hard to pull them out of my brain in a list): Avalon (duh!), Kit, Genista, Darkness, Ivpiter, Cat (not Earl's cat), Chrisber, Trout Fusion, Marith, Ayse, and Kate. There was a lot of catching up and kid talk (reproduction has been happening all over the place!), so it was not a very raucous party, but that is totally okay. Also no one asked any questions about how I could possibly have gotten a girlfriend, or about the nature of the girlfriend I have, which was odd but also okay.

Clearly we must do this again, possibly even less than a year from now.

Honor Among Thieves is by James S A Corey (who is Daniel Abraham and someone else), but it is also a Star Wars novel. I think the two aspects fight each other to a draw.

Party! by Avalon (Sat Mar 29 04:53:45 2014)

It was a very nice party and it was nice to meet people! If you want those questions answered you should interview me for your blog. Or yourself!

Re: Party! by Trip (Mon Mar 31 08:16:01 2014)

Well, I know many things about you. But the other people at the party didn't.

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22 March 2014 - Saturday

Ayse and Ken and Julia made me a birthday pie! Chocolate cream, with only "Trip sugar"! It did not set completely, so it needed to be served with a spoon, but it was extremely tasty and also full of love, which is the best kind of pie.

After that, we did successfully meet Earl and Cat and Marith at Kabul and feast upon copious Afghan food! People who are cooler than me talked about books and stuff.

I did not bring any home for the cats, but I am pretty sure they would not like spinach or pumpkin. Or books, for that matter. (Not sure about literary criticism — can it be batted around?)

While going blblbl and riding the train and stuff, I finished some readings.

UQ Holder! (Ken Akamatsu) is a sequel or AU spin-off or something of Negima!. The main character is genki, but such a doofus it's hard to care much about him. I guess we'll see how the next few volumes go.

I'm not sure what to say about volume 4 of Genshiken Second Season (Shimoku Kio). It's Genshiken!

Swords of Waar (Nathan Long) is the sequel to Jane Carver of Waar, in which the heroine actually goes to some effort to get back to the planet of naked purple guys ADVENTURE! and save the day from [SPOILER]. (It's a pretty good twist, too.)

Dragon Society (Lawrence Watt-Evans) is the middle book of the trilogy, but even so it has the pursuit of justice cause plenty of social upheaval. Crazy people with boosted charisma are not so good for the status quo.

Pie by Avalon (Wed Mar 26 16:52:52 2014)

That is the best kind of pie =)

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21 March 2014 - Friday

One step closer to the grave! Er, I mean, new personal high score! Either way, it is a national holiday of Trip's Apartment (Celebration of the Continued Provision of Gooshyfood).

I was not very competent about getting up, but I did make it to the doctor on time, so I guess it was good enough. Unsurprisingly, I need to eat better or I will be doomed.

No idea if Indian lunch buffet counts as eating better, but it was mostly vegetables and it sure was tasty!

Although I had a clever plan to go to the The Table, no one thought they were in charge of making reservations, so by the time I called them tonight, there were no tables for six before 22:15. Instead of celebrating wildly with Avalon, I florned about the wreckage of my plan and scuttled about trying to find a different restaurant. (Marith suggested Kabul, which did have a table at a sane time, unlike the other restaurants I called.) I guess I can't say that wasn't characteristic of me, but it still seems foolish.

Paws: still twelve!

Sadly, the only actual book I managed to read today was Spheres of Influence (Ryk E Spoor), the sequel to Grand Central Arena, which was only okay despite having the Monkey King vs Bug Aliens.

The Ryuutama Quick-Play document does seem to have all the mechanics needed to play, but the bare mechanics don't give much idea what to do with them, other than, "Go on a journey". I am looking forward to the full version, though!

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Previously in Trip's Life

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