Trip's Brain-Sucking Web Site

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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

5 Most Recent Comments
2016-06-23:  "Nope! " by marithlizard
2016-06-18:  "Re: early ethical education" by Trip
2016-06-18:  "early ethics education" by marithlizard
2016-06-05:  "Re: Gollubtania" by Trip
2016-06-05:  "Gollubtania" by Jeremy

23 June 2016 - Thursday

Today I received a giant isopod in the mail. Aren't you jealous?


After a lot of back and forth, Ken finally admitted that he couldn't do gaming tonight because new house. I tried to make alternate plans, but Avalon's kid got sick, so I mostly just went blblblblblblblbl.

Nope! by marithlizard (Fri Jun 24 12:06:32 2016)

Not at all. In fact, you can have any isopods that show up in my mailbox ever. See what I do for you as a sister?

I am jealous of the earthy sculptures you linked on your tumblr, though. I want to put things like this one in corners of parks and nature spots, where 95% of passerby will never notice them but every so often someone will do a double take and be delighted.

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21 June 2016 - Tuesday

Work party to celebrate the new version that came out a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately the company is still small, so it was not excessivly onerous, although the drinking portion of the entertainment was lost on me.


I have been reading Orion's Arm, which is a wiki full of far-future transhumanism, alien aliens, and STL travel.


Avalon's work finally figured out how to get their act together, but only after giving her a migraine.

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20 June 2016 - Monday

Avalon's organization is still in release hell.


Seven Forges, The Blasted Lands, City of Wonders, and The Silent Army (James A Moore) are the first four books in a series that clearly needs at least one more to explain what the heck is going on. Featured: mysterious magical apocalypses, at least two sets of gods (which may or may not be the same order of being), a wizardly vizier who is not actually evil, invading barbarians, uncommon but extremely powerful magic, a simple soldier, and doom. So much doom. More doom than that, even.

Genevieve Cogman is another published author from TooMUSH. She has mostly written gaming stuff, but her first novel, The Invisible Library, has just became available on Kindle (who publishes paper books without an ebook right away?!). No one will be surprised that it is about a librarian who travels to other dimensions, and probably not much that this adventure is in steampunk London, but it is pretty entertaining and there is good interPC drama. The next two books exist, but only in paper form so far, so it may be a while until I read them.

Blood in the Water (Taylor Anderson) is the eleventh(?) episode in the "Destroyermen" alternate-timeline saga of heroic US Navy vs dinosaurs and madmen. They are definitely episodes by this point, not even remotely stand-alone books. No one appreciates catgirls enough.

I'm not sure Dark Run (Mike Brooks) is on a grand enough scale to be space opera, more like space cyberpunk, but the main characters are definitely PCs. The setting is not particularly novel, although the space-going bits are not completely stupid.


Volume 2 of Paradise Residence (Kosuke Fujishima) is much like volume 1. There do not appear to be any twists, just slice-of-wackiness.

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19 June 2016 - Sunday

No gaming, only Zuul. I did finish chapter 9 of Melisande & Melisande. (It is terrible.)

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18 June 2016 - Saturday

Cleaners, check.


I think I need to be firmer about not playing games that involve hitting or fighting with Jus. Oof.


  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.10: It probably is wrong of me to ship Natsume and Hiiragi.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.11: Hey, is Natsume going to resolve his parent issues?
  • Bakemonogatari 9: New girl, with spirit snakes. It is a good question why Araragi isn't calling Senjyogahara. She's got to be less problematic at dealing with half-naked middle-schoolers than Kanbaru.
  • Brother, Dear Brother 30: Wow, it's like redemption! I didn't expect that character to try to fling herself, though.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Oops, we don't have the disc. Time to watch extra of something else!
  • Bakemonogatari 10: Looks like Araragi rolled a 7-9 on his Remove Curse roll: the GM offered him a worse outcome/an ugly choice. Next episode: kittygirl!

early ethics education by marithlizard (Wed Jun 22 13:24:09 2016)

Yeah, I realized last time that we need to have a conversation about how some things are not okay to do to your enemies/prisoners even if they are monsters, and even if it's just pretend. Which seems like a lot for a small kid, but important. Fortunately her parents are good at explaining complex concepts.

Re: early ethical education by Trip (Wed Jun 22 17:13:28 2016)

I'm still trying to figure out how to explain that everyone thinks they're the Good Guys.

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17 June 2016 - Friday

Apparently Avalon's employer has no idea how to run a run web site, so they are having a QA panic on Friday night instead of releasing well-tested code and going home for the weekend. One wouldn't think this process would still be a mystery to anyone, but...

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16 June 2016 - Thursday

Grant exploded without warning, but we had Mike, so 13th Age was able to happen. Once again, there were no fights. Anwë is a terrible spy, because dice are involved. Maybe we should switch to Dungeon World so I at least get XP for failing so many rolls.

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14 June 2016 - Tuesday

The train made me almost an hour late getting into work, and then everyone had to come into the room where I was trying to get the thing doen to eat lunch very loudly and sociably. It wasn't as bad as last week, but still not an optimal working experience.

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13 June 2016 - Monday

That most inauspicious of all days, Monday the Thirteenth.


Must be time for a reading update!

Gateway to Fourline and On the Meldon Plain (Pam Brondos) are unexceptional gateway fantasy, with spider-monsters and dream magic.

Most cultists don't start worshipping the Great Old Ones with the intent of becoming gibbering low-HP cannon fodder to be mowed down by investigators. Usually, they want secret knowledge and truths that humanity is not giving them. In Cthulhusattva (ed Scott R Jones), we see some of what they learn, or at least about it. You know you want the True Wisdom.

Hair in All the Wrong Places (Andrew Buckley) is unexceptional lycanthropy/puberty fic.

Eldritch Chrome (Brian M Sammons, Glynn Owen Barrass) is Cthulhu/Cyberpunk, for a sometimes loose definition of cyberpunk. As is common in anthologies, the quality is variable.

Volume 2 of Dimension W (Yuji Iwahara) still does not have monsters from another universe, but for how long can manga keep using a semi-physical definition of "dimension"?

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts (Maybe) is set in an Old-West-like mileau, in the generation after a civil war. However, in this history, the outgunned side won by turning soldiers into supernatural beasts. Now the demobilized beasts are going mad in various ways, and their former commanding officer has to hunt them down and put them out of their misery according to the oath they swore, accompanied by the rifle-toting daughter of one of the first beasts to be euthanized.

The vampires in Devils' Line (Ryo Hanada) are of the uncontrollable-urges subtype: normally they are people, but blood or adrenaline will make them flip out and do whatever it takes to get the tasty tasty blood inside of anyone nearby. This poses certain problems for human-vampire relationships, but somehow that doesn't stop people. At least the leads are taking it slow, because they know it's doomed.

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12 June 2016 - Sunday

Still more lethargy.


Jeremy and Rachel's new floor is very slick, in the manner of shiny new hardwood floors. This makes Rosie sad, but made putting their furniture back in place easy. (They have given us so many millions of calories, I have no objection to giving a little energy back.)

Deirdre has horrible work on Monday, and then has to pack to go to New York, so I arranged for Lily to fall off a cliff. It builds character, right?

I think this session went better, hopefully because we are getting the hang of Dungeon World and not because we are getting lax and playing it like the games we're used to. I felt kind of weird making up whole sections of the dungeon, instead of having it all planned out, but I think that's how one is supposed to run Dungeon World. Anyway, when we did the end-of-session move, everyone agreed that they had learned horrifying new things about the world, so I feel that I have done at least part of my job.


Hurray for Avalonhugs!

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11 June 2016 - Saturday

So much lethargy.


  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.9: Considering how often Natsume ends up disguising himself as a yōkai, you'd think he'd be better at it, or maybe even work at it.
  • Brother, Dear Brother 29: Oh, here's some more flinging. But go Prince Kaoru! Equality for all!
  • Bakemonogatari 8: Is it cheating to pay the penalty for breaking the demonic compact in hit points when you regenerate? Although really Hitagi was the one who broke it, as one might expect.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 16-17: Angels from the higher dimensions! Also, Eva rampage! Then, mysterious Eva-related devastation, but it's in Nevada, which is used to that sort of thing.

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9 June 2016 - Thursday

Today we had no Mike for 13th Age, but we did have Grant and pizza, so there was a quorum. This session was all talking, so very little was resolved. Every important personage has their opinion on what should happen with the Emperor's marital status, but Anwë is not impressed by their self-serving reasons for why the Elf Queen should not become empress of everything.

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8 June 2016 - Wednesday

Hurray! Avalon!

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7 June 2016 - Tuesday

I commuted all the way to the far office today, which got me a fairly good tuna sandwich and then a sweaty two hour search for a bus that would actually show up at the bus stop and take me to the train station. By the time I got back to San Jose, there was no way to get to a polling place in time to do my civic duty.

Other great things that happened today:

Customer: We need you to do your thing with Third Party.
Third Party: We did our thing, please do your thing.
Us: Third Party, you seem to have done A instead of B. We only do the thing with B.
TP: Nonsense, we always do B. How can you claim we did A?
Us: Please see enclosed evidence.
TP: Oh yes, we only ever do A. We've never done B.
Us: But we only do the thing with B. Could you B for us?
TP: Maybe if you break off the one leg of the A and fold it around the bottom it would look like B?

I asked Dave to expand on the goofy answer he gave on Sunday via email, but instead of using the extra thinking time to go back toward the agreed-upon genre, he sent something even goofier.

The part of my apartment right around where I sit to stare mindlessly into tumblr smells like cat pee but only when I'm not looking for the source, so I can't find where it's coming from and clean it up.

Avalon is back from the cruise but too busy to see me.

Even though these are all trivial problems, I am a very sullen parasite. Apparently I have not lived my life in such a manner as to develop serenity in the face of adversity. Very disappointing.

Busy by Avalon (Fri Jun 10 17:43:04 2016)

Oh but I was not AFTER. kiss

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5 June 2016 - Sunday

Earl has decided that he's not up to running PAD &D5 any more, or maybe he just can't put up with our goofiness. Either way, we must find new gaming!

Hey, look, people I can run Dungeon World on!

Of course I made many mistakes, because I am a terrible GM. I let people make characters who all had the same background, I didn't stomp on goofy answers to questions, I let people reskin things, I didn't ask enough questions about what doing things is like... And Dave's brain doesn't produce useful answers about the fictional world unless he stops gaming for a while, which is sub-optimal.

Perhaps next week will be better. At least we will be back in Gollubtania, instead of in a hotel room with wonky AC.


Avalon will be back from her cruise soon, but not yet.

Gollubtania by Jeremy (Tue Jun 14 20:43:21 2016)

I would burst into sardonic song if only I could make "Gollubtania" scan like "Romania."

Gaming is a endless cycle of fun / A medley of extemporania / ...

Although it was fun, so there goes the sardonic part.

Re: Gollubtania by Trip (Wed Jun 15 09:24:46 2016)

I think you have to leave out at least one vowel in Gollubtania to make it scan, but then you have to leave out at least one vowel in Jeremy to make it scan like Marie.

You've heard the Flash Girls song, right?

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4 June 2016 - Saturday

Cleaners, check. Grocery shopping, check.


  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.8: Wow, a female anime character who's over 30! (Actually Natsume is pretty good about not having women only for cheesecake.)
  • Brother, Dear Brother 28: More family drama for Mariko, but no one actually plummets from a bridge in this episode.
  • Bakemonogatari 6-7: And now, monkey of doom! Apparently tormenting Araragi is very fulfilling, because every girl he meets does it.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 15: NERV is hiding things?! One of those things is pretty freaky-looking, too.
  • Steven Universe 36-37: Hey, look, plot! Just flying around in hyperspace and being mean and scary! Plus, fusion that may or may not be symbolic but certainly made Garnet happy. Her little Steven is growing up!

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2 June 2016 - Thursday

No one had a brain, but we ate okay Indian food and played 13th Age anyway (with Mike, without Grant).

Back in the main timeline, the PCs have escaped the Stone Thief somewhere in the southern fringes of the High Druid's headquarters forest. Disaster follows the Stone Thief everywhere it goes, so it's not that surprising to find a party of Imperial couriers slaughtered by dragons before they could deliver the Druid's wedding invitation. With the help of a passing pixie and his treant friends, and the anti-help of a demon-corrupted dryad and a wendigo, the PCs find the village where the Druid is hanging out and attempt to ingratiate themselves by helping with farming. Apparently Li majored in Agricultural Infrastructure at the Imperial University.

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1 June 2016 - Wednesday

Huh, it's month number 6 already. How did that happen?


Okay books:

73458285th in the "Chronicles of St Mary's" series, Lies, Damned Lies, and History (Jodi Taylor) has more doom, more Max getting in trouble, and more pregnancy.


Awesome books:

In Borderline (Mishell Baker), a disabled (following a suicide attempt) film student with borderline personality disorder is recruited by a mysterious organization that keeps the slumming faeries in the LA area under control. Since this organization preferentially recruits those with mental issues, her coworkers are a colorful lot, and interaction ensues. Millie is pretty obnoxious in some ways and hard to deal with, but surprisingly sympathetic.

Velveteen vs the Seasons (Seanan McGuire) is the third in the "Velveteen" series, in which the awful fairytale debts incurred in the previous books come home to roost and Velveteen has to spend some time as a semi-living trainee/avatar/pawn of various mythic and holiday figures. This is even less fun than it sounds, plus people are causing trouble while she's away.

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31 May 2016 - Tuesday

I went all the way to San Mateo and the company didn't even feed me! But the Curry Up Now truck was just across the street, so it all worked out.


I wrote a bunch of awful words to make this the most productive since I started writing again at the beginning of the year. Maybe that's good? Maybe not.

tumblr reminded me that what I probably actually need is a writing buddy, but that seems unlikely to happen.


Hurray, volume 13 of Yotsuba&! (Kiyohiko Azuma) is finally out!

Grandma's unfazedness in the face of Yotsuba's Yotsubaness suggests something about Yotsuba's dad's childhood.


The Indomitable Ten (Curiosity Quills Press) is a collection of superhero stories, one of which is by the author of Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain. I hadn't realized Foxxy Kitt was (culturally? originally? affectedly?) black, but then we never really saw her in the present books. Maybe she will appear more in the next one, which Twitter tells me Roberts is working on now.

One of the stories in The Indomitable Ten was amusing enough that I picked up the full-length book, Otto von Trapezoid and the Empress of Thieves (Jesse Baruffi). However, it was a bit too over-the-top and fourth-wall-breaking for my taste, even though superheroic conventions involving robots were properly adhered to.

Super: Arca Book 1 (Karen Diem) is even more supers. A bunch of apparently random people get sick and wake up with superpowers, the government tramples over their civil rights, shadowy forces try to kidnap them for experimentation, they don't get along with each other, supervillains try to become living gods, etc. Notable motly for having a non-white protagonist, who also already has all the psychlims so she doesn't even think about being reluctant.

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30 May 2016 - Monday

I did not do anything uplifting or morally edifying today. I did, however, get up at the normal Monday time and make it to Bill's for breakfast instead of over-crowded late brunch, buy some clothes and also a curtain to keep the people in the apartment across the fence from looking directly into my bathroom, and write another 600 words.

A kitty may have been petted.

Careful how you answer by Miao (Fri Jun 3 15:15:03 2016)

Are you claiming that kitty-petting is not uplifting or morally edifying? Are you bringing home tuna?

Re: Careful how you answer by Trip (Mon Jun 6 08:53:44 2016)

Actually, I don't think the gooshyfood I'm getting them now does have any tuna. There is duck and rabbit and salmon, though.

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29 May 2016 - Sunday

There was a vague intent to check out some kind of mushroom festival (apparently mushrooms are one of the county's largest crops!), but it fell through due to circumstances, or perhaps events.


I tried to go shopping, but the bus completely failed to appear, so I went back inside and wrote a thousand terrible words (a completely new chapter 6 for M&M).

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28 May 2016 - Saturday

We were going to go to Baycon, but it's in San Mateo this year, WTF. So instead we went to Fanime, conveniently located a short light-rail ride from Monkeycat towers. The fraction of cosplayers was much larger than I expected! Many of the costumes were mysterious (mostly videogames, I think), but I knew at least a few of them.

The kids lasted only about 45 minutes before exploding, but it was toward the end of the day. Ayse fed them pizza and put them to bed and all was well.

Since Ken is not here, instead of regular anime Dave decided that we should watch Pom Poko. Bah, poor translation! And kind of a sad movie, but nothing about animals and urban sprawl is going to turn out well unless there's way more magic than that involved. We also watched another episode of Steven Universe. Lion continues to be awesome and somewhat disturbing.

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26 May 2016 - Thursday

Ken is so busy with audits and KublaCon prep and general doom that there is no 13th Age today.


Avalon is busy preparing to go on a cruise with horrible older relatives. It is very sad.


The setup for Belly of the Beast is pretty cool: a giant monster growing from a meteorite eats the entire world, but a few of the toughest and luckiest people survive in its kingdom-sized innards, scavenging the ruins and maybe pieces of the monster itself. However, there's not a whole lot of background stuff, and a lot of the same system as in Hunt the Wicked (by the same designer) which really doesn't do it for me. I think it would be better as an Apocalypse World hack. (I say that about a lot of things, but this wouldn't even need much hacking, because it is already grim and post-apocalyptic.)


Monster Musume: I heart Monster Girls is just official fancomics of Monster Musume.


Too Like The Lightning (Ada Palmer) is set in the future, but is full of references to the past, specifically the 1700s and the Enlightenment.Somehow, this works with the future in which global airtaxis have made nation-state obsolete and allowed people to associate on philosophical grounds, but it would probably work even better if I were a historian specializing in the 18th century even moderately well-read person and could understand how everything in the setting follows directly from one Enlightenment philosopher or another. Also, intrigue, conspiracy, combination sex/philosophy scenes, serial killers, really scary people, and a couple of completely inexplicable things. To be completed in the sequel later this year, hopefully. One tentacle up, the other is hiding in shame from not knowing things.

Both of the things I am working on now have teenage female protagonists (sheer coincidence, I assure you), but after reading Places No One Knows (Brenna Yovanoff) I had to go, "Oh, yah, teenage girls have feelings. Lots of feelings. I wonder how I could write about those?" and now I will stay in a pit forever. But, it is a pretty swell book, as long as you don't want the weird thing explained. I don't think the protagonist is actually neuro-atypical, just eccentric, but everyone knows how young humans treat those who are different, and that would mess anyone up. Also, nurturing male character! Two tentacles up.

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Previously in Trip's Life


This file was last modified by trip@idiom.com.