Trip's Brain-Sucking Web Site


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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

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2016-04-10:  "terminology" by marithlizard
2016-04-03:  "Re: Gelato" by marithlizard
2016-04-03:  "Re: Gelato" by Trip
2016-04-03:  "Gelato" by marithlizard
2016-03-21:  "Re: Birthday" by Trip

28 April 2016 - Thursday

[ . . . ]

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27 April 2016 - Wednesday

Writing: fail.

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25 April 2016 - Monday

No Avalon, because her head is afflicted with aches. :(

I have now written my quota of words for April. Too bad they are all terrible.

How to properly operate and maintain your frog (via Earl).

Both Kit and Cat are reblogging lots of stuff from my tumblr. This pleases me inordinately.

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24 April 2016 - Sunday

Today the plan for PAD&D5 came together even though Rachel and Jeremy had to hurry back from Sacramento (but it turns out driving early in the day works pretty well). The gaming munchies of affliction were surprisingly edible.

Multiheaded multidimensional octopoid horror defeated: check! (Zach's tentacle-fu was strong in this fight.) Mermaid princess extracted from the higher dimensions and returned to her people, thus opening the sea to travel: check! Random slave-catcher giant trounced, afflicted with thoughts of rebellion, and left to be humiliatingly found by his comrades: check! Venusian giant persuaded (or "persuaded") to let the PCs aboard her interplanetary wheel of fire: check!

In two weeks, we get to try to hijack the flying saucer. This cannot possibly go wrong.

The fourth playtest packet of 13th Age in Glorantha is pretty final, it looks like. There is clearly still a lot of editing needed, but the rules are pretty close to their final shape. Sadly, there is no Babeester Gor berserker, although the Zorak Zorani berserker and hell mother troll classes are both available. It is now clear (from examples) that players can make suggestions for their temporary runes, but it's up to the GM to narrate them into the story. It is also clear that even a first-level 13G character is almost rune priest level, and by the end of adventurer tier there's no almost about it. More monsters! An adventure on the Crimson Bat! Doom for everyone!

Now I want to play more 13G.

First Law of Mad Science vol 1 (Mike Isenberg, Oliver Mertz, Daniel Lapham, Jeff McComsey, Jamie Noguchi) has snarky teenaged robots, lost cities, horrible monsters, and conspiracies, but I don't really like the art style.

Dirty Diamonds (ed Claire Folkman, Kelly Phillips) is a series of collections of short autobiographical comics by women, with a theme for each volume: Alcohol, Jobs, Travel, Break-Ups, Comics, Beauty. They are highly variable, but the art is mostly in one part of the space that I'm not terribly fond of. Apparently I'm picky.

After the Fall (ed Jaym Gates) is a collection of Eclipse Phase fiction, some reprinted from the books but some either reprinted from elsewhere or new for the collection. They are a good mix of transhuman adventure and inhuman (or sometimes just capitalist) horror.

Based on her story in After the Fall, I went looking for other stuff by Tiffany Trent. In The Unnaturalists and The Tinker King, Victorian London has been sucked into fairyland, and the inhabitants promptly set about stripmining it for power. Everything is downhill from there, until the book actually starts. Doom ensues. No, wait, they started with doom. Adventure ensues.

Writing: fail.

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23 April 2016 - Saturday

Now my apartment is clean.

Now I am full of fajitas.

Now I am watching anime and oppressing Marith. It builds character!

  • Brother, Dear Brother 23: Yes, covering up attempted murder is definitely what a good Japanese girl of the 1970s should do.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 11: As always, if the PCs can use teamwork, the monsters are much easier.
  • Bakemonogatari 1-2: I had forgotten about the animation style. And the scene in Hitagi's house. But Ayse likes it!
  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.4: Natsume does seem to have Reiko's youkai-punching powers, he just doesn't like using them.

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21 April 2016 - Thursday

Bah, after-hours upgrade. But it worked and did not make me late for gaming, so okay.

Ken was delayed by terrible drivers on the 101, so we didn't get a whole bunch of 13th Age, but we did retake a dwarven pumice galleon from the sea elves who had massacred the crew and plunder the giant emerald we need for the next stage of the plan. That the emerald was the head of a giant golem and I can't roll higher than 1 to impersonate a dwarven legate hardly slowed us down at all.

What happened to my dice since Alazaïs rolled two crits in a row to put down a vampire cleric and his demonic concubine?

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19 April 2016 - Tuesday

I tried to go home after work in the far office to see Avalon, but the train was late and double-full and generally unpleasant. I blame people in cars.

This is what I need to do to run Dungeon World with less sucking.

Freedom at Feronia (Richard Penn) is the second in the "Asteroid Police" series. After the first book turned into sort of a naval action, the small-town cop sets forth in her prize vessel (well, the vessel built around her prize reactor core; close enough) to bring the law of the Belt Federation to whatever den of corruption might need it. This is a very slow process, since the Δv between refuelings is in the single digit kilometers per second.

At a slightly higher tech level is the Eclipse Phase Firewall sourcebook, which details the inner workings of the default conspiracy for PCs to be pawns of, as well as its allies. Also, some new gear.

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18 April 2016 - Monday

After the Monday Morning Meeting, a bunch of us went to look at a potential new office, which is really nice. If we can strike a good deal with the landlord, everyone is in favor of moving the few blocks to the new place. Then we went out to sandwiches, and came back to find that the company-provided lunch for tomorrow is sandwiches.

Sandwiches for dinner.

Did work in the evening instead of anything fun like writing or Avalon. Bah, customers.

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17 April 2016 - Sunday

No PAD&D5 because Earl is in LA and other people are busy.

This weekend I have watched the first episode or two of a bunch of new shows on Crunchyroll.

  • Re:Zero 1A-B, 2: A gormless Japanese teenage boy is sucked into a fantasy world. He meets a cute girl, gets mixed up with criminals, and is disemboweled. It gets confusing.
  • Big Order 1: Some people get superpowers based on what they wish for. The world is devastated. The protagonist thinks it's his fault. His hallucinatory friend is not very helpful.
  • Flying Witch 1-2: A ditzy Japanese teenage girl moves to a small town to stay with relatives. She is a witch. Not a whole lot happens, but it is disconcerting to those around her.
  • Kiznaiver 1-2: I think this is the psychophilosophy genre. Six Japanese teenagers are cybered up so that they feel each other's pain and forced to bond.
  • Hundred 1-2: Monsters attack. Select humans have magic rocks that give them superpowers in the form of summoned gear. They go to high school on a giant ship. There is discord and jiggling and an extremely effeminate but allegedly male roommate and unwanted celebrity.

Oh, and earlier I watched:

  • Konosuba 1: A gormless Japanese teenage boy is run over and dies. As a special offer, he gets to reincarnate in a fantasy world and take one thing with him. He pickes the cute but dim goddess who handled the reincarnation. They start at level 0 with no equipment or money.
  • BBK/BRNK 1-5: Mecha fall from the sky and cause havoc. Their limbs can be taken away and used as magic weapons (which may or may not look like mecha limbs). A group of five teenagers hope to overthrow someone who uses her mecha to oppress Japan.

I don't know how to write.

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16 April 2016 - Saturday

Today, I accomplished nothing whatsoever! But at least I am not sick like Ayse and Jus.

  • Brother, Dear Brother 22: The trend in Miya's behavior is not good. I wonder if she'll manage to actually kill anyone by the end of the show?
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 10: Extremophile angels are hardcore. I have to wonder if it would have been easier to drain the caldera first, though.
  • Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth 11-12: The end! Claude's backstory is still tragic, but at least we know it now, and Yune is his friend, so everything is fine.

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15 April 2016 - Friday

I survived another week! And oppressed Marith, at least virtually.

Writing: fail. The problems Avalon pointed out are legit, I'm just not sure how to fix them. Is going back and changing earlier chapters of a pseudo web serial cheating? But is not doing it worse?

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14 April 2016 - Thursday

Today I went to the doctor to be physically examined. The lump on my head is just excess brain tissue leaking out, nothing to worry about. The pain in my arm is tennis elbow (tennis not included).

Since we will have no Kelsey for some time to come, we started the flashback side campaign for 13th Age. Before the first age, we are playing crazed 5th-level characters who will become icons, or something. We have a time-traveller from a 4th Age in which things went very wrong, a gnome mercenary, a shape-shifting fox spirit, a pirate captain, and a fungal master of disguise. The Eyes of the Stone Thief must be blinded!

I still cannot either roleplay or roll dice.

Reread Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen (Richard Roberts) as an example of what people who can write do. I still can't write.

Dark Beyond The Stars (ed David Gatewood) is allegedly a space opera anthology but I'm not sure all the stories are in the same subgenre. They are all by women, though.

Earl semi-recommended Richard Penn's "Asteroid Police" series, of which The Dark Colony is the first. It's like a small-town police procedural, where the procedures include a 20-minute lightspeed delay each direction to higher authority and analytical capability. Unusually for asteroid colonization, the tech level is only a tiny bit higher than present: cell phones are more advanced, and they're willing to use fission-thermal rockets, but that's about it.

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12 April 2016 - Tuesday

It seems like I have spent most of today chasing Route 64 busses, with various degrees of success. It turns out that if I really hurry, I can just barely make it to the train station on foot before the train leaves. But I'd really rather ride the bus and not get all sweaty.

Writing: still awful.


What happens to kids who fall into magical worlds and then come home again? In Every Heart A Doorway (Seanan McGuire), they end up at Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, where they try to keep their madness reined in. This apparently rarely works, because little is easy or pleasant when McGuire is writing you.

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10 April 2016 - Sunday

No gaming today, because some new relative of Jeremy and Rachel's has to be mutilated as a sacrifice to Sky Chimp Omega.

Today, only sloth. I am caught up on writing, at least.

Rereading Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain did help, but am I beyond help? Probably.

Also read recently:


UQ Holder! vol 4-7 (Ken Akamatsu) brings the master villain from Negima! back into the picture, along with the setting and one of the scarier non-central classmates. Also, new villain and new hero and doom.

Was Once A Hero (Edward McKeown) is fairly old-fashioned adventure SF with monocultural human-like aliens, improbably beautiful babe from Murder Planet, FTL travel, and Mysteriously Hosed Planet of Mysterious Hosage that can be solved by a sufficiently large explosion.

In A Study in Charlotte (Brittany Cavallaro), Sherlock Holmes and John Watson were real people, and the Holmes and Watson families have carried on breeding, respectively, deductive geniuses with drug habits and romantic writers with sidekick tendencies. In the present day, Charlotte Holmes and James Watson meet at prep school and murder ensues. Also possibly unhealthy obsession, although calling it "romance" might be a bit much.

If you can only read one of these, read Stutterhug.

terminology by marithlizard (Tue Apr 12 16:50:29 2016)

You might want to put that a bit more tactfully. Some folks prefer a more dignified name for Sky Chimp Omega and hir rituals. (I mean, what are you going to put on the bumper stickers? "Ook is my co-pilot"?)

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9 April 2016 - Saturday

People came and cleaned my apartment. Yay.

  • Brother, Dear Brother 21: I'm pretty sure Tomoko was thinking, "But I want hot college guys to hit on me".
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 8-9: Finally, Asuka appears, in all her glory! Also, synchronization.
  • Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth 10: Watching a computer-generated video on an LCD display about a magic lantern show is very something.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.3: Not just tribbles, but highly evolved invisible tribbles!
  • Steven Universe 31: Keep Beach City Weird!

I am too dim to write, apparently.

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8 April 2016 - Friday

I think the thing with Avalon is kind of sorted out? Maybe? Wum.

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7 April 2016 - Thursday

CostCo cruelly betrayed Grant, so we had to order from FPD, but we did eventually eat and play 13th Age. After playing with a home defense automaton and clobbering a bunch of rude mechanical goblinoids, the PCs got to the Gatekeeper and managed to fit him into their giant diamond. The giant diamond then promptly rolled downstairs into a forcefield labyrinth where a medusa was bound as a guardian, tormented by harpies. After some conversation, the imp Chortle is convinced to take over the guardianship and immortality as a refuge from his displeased masters in Hell and the remaining harpies are convinced to permit this. With a partially-petrified medusa in their party, they finally escape the Stone Thief near Santa Cora.

Ken wants to run a flashback until Kelsey can start attending regularly, so I must create a 5th-level rogue with the OUT "Fated to become the Prince of Shadows".

Mrgh, writing is hard. I have decided I am displeased with the supermythos thing again, and there needs to be a more plausible and less grim way to get the protagonist into the basement of preservation and death. Maybe I should reread Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain. Or die in a pit.

The first plot arc of Tokyo ESP (Hajime Segawa) wraps up in volume 3, with "who" and "why" explained, but the actual origins of the superpowers still mysterious.

Volumes 4 and 5 of One-Punch Man (Yusuke Murata) get many points off for homophobia and a continuing complete lack of female characters.

Good Intentions and Natural Consequences (Elliott Kay) are not as good as the student loan warfare books, at least partly because they are self-insert male fantasy, and I definitely mean "insert" as many parts of both books are quite smutty. (Cue Tom Lehrer.) Good points: the hero's major virtue is that he is a good person, not that he's a badass or has succubus cooties that make him irresistable; polyamory requires communication; his non-supernatural friends are also pretty awesome; vampires are dangerous but fundamentally lame.

Royden Poole's Field Guide to the 25th Hour (Clinton J Boomer) is sadly only a collection of short, incomplete snippets, but still made me snort my brain out through my nose at multiple points.

Safely You Deliver (Graydon Saunders) is the third "Commonweal" book, and follows directly, though not immediately, from the second. It is even more elliptical than previous volumes, although this is somewhat alleviated by already knowning the characters. Ethics, ecology, and accounting continue to provide major plot elements, so how can you go wrong?

Tell The Wind And Fire (Sarah Rees Brennan) is apparently a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, only in New York with magic and dopplegangers. As usual, giving humans any power at all leads to widespread violence and oppression, which I presume is also the theme of aTo2C. I didn't not like it, but I like her other works better.

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5 April 2016 - Tuesday

In the far office, as usual for Tuesday. Bleargh, commuting.

Some of my cow orkers are extremely annoying in meetings, because they insist on questioning decisions that have already been made, by people who obviously did not have the privilege of their vast intellects and will change everything once their errors are properly mansplained.

Similar tendencies were in evidence during the meeting about the new benefits stuff, but somehow we made it through.

I successfully met a human from the Internet for gelato and used books! Her name is Liz, she is roughly my age and married and poly, she reads SF, she used to be a school librarian and then a teacher, but is currently working on a new career. We had gelato and pillaged BookBuyers for a bit, and then I had to go catch a train. It was all very pleasant and hardly terrifying at all!

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3 April 2016 - Sunday

Earl is full of tax forms, so he could not run PAD&D5 for us, but everyone else wanted to get together and eat blackberries. They forced me to run the story of the last time the PCs were all in a swamp, which involved lizardfolk and dragons and lost journals and hardly any mermaid/Titan hybrids. The Frederick kicked a baby dragon, because he is a fiend. Also grappling is overpowered.

Next time, Dungeon World! Or something. But probably Earl will be back in two weeks so it won't come up.

Someone from OKCupid wants to get gelato with me. Aieee.

Gelato by marithlizard (Thu Apr 7 03:06:09 2016)

Woot! Do you want to go get gelato with them?

Re: Gelato by Trip (Thu Apr 7 16:43:58 2016)

Apparently so!

Re: Gelato by marithlizard (Fri Apr 8 01:25:39 2016)

Hooray! You are mighty, triumphant, and full of books and safe amounts of fructose-or-unreasonable-substitute!

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2 April 2016 - Saturday

Birthday Sushi Infinity! Om nom nom nom!

I have long since eaten all the pie Ken and Jus made for me, so we had to get more dessert for people to sing around. Whole Foods failed on low-carb, surprisingly, but Safeway did not. There was much singing. Jus gave me a handmade birthday card.

Once the kids were put away, Ken showed us What We Do In The Shadows which was horrific yet funny. Or maybe funny yet horrific.

No writing today, but on the other hand, no stupid April Fool's pranks.

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31 March 2016 - Thursday

This week, we had Kelsey for 13th Age but not Grant. Continuity, who needs it? Broccolini pasta is better than continuity any day. Demon minions and Imperial wedding invitations, not so much.

The PCs successfully rescued an apparently random magistrate from the southern empire from the second room of the hellclam tower, then used magic to suborn the lever-puller in the third room and made friends with the Pearlkeeper (another wall face). After a long rest, they use one of the levers to get to the Gizzard, which is practically out of the dungeon. One of their nemeses, the orcish General Gul, has taken over the orcs of the Gizzard since the Stone Thief ate her horde, and is working with the new or restored Architect. Somehow, the PCs get the Architect to hand over a large gemstone, ostensibly as a wedding present for the Emperor, and the orcish assassins to escort them out of the dungeon, but as soon as they slip away, they head for the Gatekeeper to try putting him in the gem and carrying him back to the dwarven kingdom.

Last day of the month, so time to total up writing. Looks like I made 55% over my new improved quota, if you count horrible writing at face value. I'm not sure whether to increase my quota to 200 per day, or leave it as-is and see if I can avoid failure two months in a row.

New manga! Meh.

Nichijou (Keiichi Arawi) seems to be in kind of the same space as Azumanga Daioh but without the punch lines every fourth panel or comprehensible references or anything else that made me like AD.

"Hapless teenage boy breaks the seal established by older and wiser Shinto priests, releasing the hot female kami" is a well-established shounen anime subgenre. Maga-Tsuki (Hoshino Taguchi) only adds the twist that the boy and goddess must remain in physical contact or he keels over dead and has to be kissed back to life, which isn't any more of an annoyance to the girl next door than any other variant.

Your Whispering Homunculus and More Whispering Homunculus are full of tables for adding color and strangeness to a D&D-type setting: 20 crazy contests or dares villagers might challenge a PC to, 12 obsessive collectors and the creepy things they collect, 50 weird entertainers, 20 bizarre local religious festivals, 100 strange shops, 20 village idiots, 10 things to spice up an encounter on snowy city streets. There are also a few variant monsters and random stuff like that. Nominally it is all for Pathfinder, but the flavor is a lot more like the fake English countryside of D&D0.

No Time Like The Past and What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (Jodi Taylor) are the fifth and sixth in the "Chronicles of St Mary's" time-travel comedy/adventure/romance, and follow the pattern of Max getting into trouble in the past because the past was horrible, and also St Mary's being in trouble becaus time travel is perilous. Also, silliness.

People (well, jerkfaces, but they're technically people, I guess) like to dismiss books with competent female characters as Mary Sues, but I see self-insertion power fantasies much more with male characters. For example, Life With A Fire-Breathing Girlfriend, The Land Beyond All Dreams, and Dragon's Luck (Bryan Fields). They aren't terrible (although oddly the second one is the best), but they are definitely what they are.

Dead Man's Debt (Elliott Kay) is the third but not final book in the series that started with Poor Man's Fight and Rich Man's War, in which a corporation goes to war with an entire solar system over student loan terms. In this volume: more heroism (or war crimes, depending on whose news you listen to), and a novel method of reining in corporate power.

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Previously in Trip's Life

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