Trip's Brain-Sucking Web Site


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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

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2018-10-10:  "Re: Escaping from Portland" by marithlizard
2018-10-10:  "Re: Escaping from Portland" by Trip
2018-10-10:  "Escaping from Portland" by marithlizard
2018-08-18:  "Peasprout Chen" by Trip
2018-08-18:  "worldcon readings" by marithlizard

23 October 2018 - Tuesday

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22 October 2018 - Monday

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21 October 2018 - Sunday

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20 October 2018 - Saturday

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19 October 2018 - Friday

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18 October 2018 - Thursday

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17 October 2018 - Wednesday

After the con, it's back to the modified D&D of 13th Age and Greek food. We've reached the part where the dungeon is collapsing around us, that's got to be a good sign, right?

FTL, Y'all! (ed C Spike Trotman, Amanda LaFrenais) is an anthology of diverse short comics around the premise "what if anyone could build a hyperdrive for $200 in parts?". Almost all of the stories are slice-of-life from after that point, about people who are bopping around finding weird things to vlog or doing legitimate research or trying to remediate Earth's environment after everyone left or scavenging from earlier generations of starfarers. Almost none of the art styles really grabbed me, alas. I think I might be A Old.

Words: 144.

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16 October 2018 - Tuesday

Ew, work. I like going to cons and resting up from cons both better.

Words: 199.

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15 October 2018 - Monday

I must be getting old, going to a single con and even getting six or seven hours sleep every night still wiped me out.

So what did I learn from this year's Big Bad Con? That I need to bring:

  • Snacks! Everybody likes the person who brings snacks!
  • Index cards, for making all kinds of things, although for nameplates specifically, the folding dry-erase things the lady in the Scum & Villainy game had would be even better.
  • Protein bars, because sometimes the restaurants are made of fail or there just isn't time or brainpower to hunt down food.
  • Dice that don't roll for crap!

    Also a brain and the spirit of volunteerism, because I am sure I can run at least as well as the first two GMs I played Masks with. Masks seems a little complex for a first try at can GMing, though, I'll probably go with Dungeon World.

    I definitely want to play Masks more, though. So far I have been making characters up on the spot, but Kevan (who played Miss Miracle in Carl's game, apparently not for the first time) mentioned he has character concepts and names already worked out for all the playbooks, and that seems like a clever thing to do. Superhero names are hard!

    Words: 144.

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14 October 2018 - Sunday

I didn't have anything scheduled for the morning session, so I could have slept in, but that would mean wasting one of my few precious chances to ever play a game that's not D&D, and it turns out that was enough to overcome staying up past midnight twice in a row.

My card was drawn fairly near the beginning of the Gaming on Demand allotment, so I was able to get into a game of Scum & Villainy (Blades in the Dark × (Star Wars − trademarked terms)) with some other random people. By GM fiat we were a Rebel crew and had to break out of the prison we had gotten ourselves thrown into as part of our plan, but that was fine, it's not like he gave us pregen characters or anything. I played an ex-military repair robot, and we also had a treasonous noble, a snake-lady Muscle, a silver-tongued Scoundrel, and a murderous Jedi space wizard. The noble was best, she was Organized. "You couldn't get the door open? I guess we're on to plan D, then. You do remember the flowchart, don't you? And this will definitely be brought up in the after-action debriefing." Despite our general inability to roll anything over a 4, we did escape prison and hack the communications relay, and had time left over to steal an experimental new stealth ship.

The GM was really good about calling out whether situations were desperate, risky, or controlled, and whether actions would have a reduced, normal, or greater effect, which I found very helpful. These concepts are probably as central to S&V/BitD as "to do the move, do it" is to DW.

The last game of the con was Masks vs Parental Expectations with Carl, and it was probably the best of the con. (I say only "probably" because I was getting pretty frazzled after 24 hours of gaming in two days.) This was the only game out of seven that had no women at the table, but fortunately we had only the good kind of male players, not the obnoxious kind. (I found the Peeper obnoxious, but only until I realized Cy(?) was playing a 14-year-old boy perfectly.) I played the Bull, Titania, raised and cyborged by crazy machine cultists who were very disappointed in her clinging to outmoded human ways. It's hard being a brick when you want to be an elegant gothic lolita. (Did you know there are geeks who had never heard of loligoth fasion?!) We also had the Janus, Miss Miracle, who of course could only field-test her amazing invention by going out and using it to fight crime; the Legacy of a deadbeat speedster who wanted to restore honor to the Cyclone line; and the Peeper, a Beacon with stealth and phasing and an inability to stay out of the newspapers. (This is the same powerset as my Beacon yesterday, but having a good player makes all the difference.) It was awesome, we spent almost as much time on the flashback to the fight where they all met as on the actual adventure because it was fun. I want to grow up to be this good a gamer someday.

If I were a nice person, I would have gone to dinner with Carl and Liralen and everyone, but instead I went home and died in a pit.


Weekly total: 389, but four days of vacation.

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13 October 2018 - Saturday

I'm almost certain I used to be able to get out of bed before 8. Like, yesterday.

This was the day of experimental games (also known as the day when I couldn't get into the games I really wanted because phased signups ensured they were all full). First was The Far Vale, in which we were D&D-style adventurers who had died while looking for the Unicorns' Graveyard and found themselves in an unexepected afterlife. It was run using the WiP/playtest version of Tox, a nominally generic and fairly simple and abstract system. I think I mostly figured out how the dice worked, but some people didn't, and I never really understood what was included in my "Seer" training card. We managed to have fun anyway, probably by being loons.

In the afternoon, it was Craft Your World, Defend It 'til Death using Heroic Dark, which apparently is still in too early of a development phase to even be on the Internets. It is not as abstract, although still quite generic; everything you can do is lumped into a few categories like attack, maneuver, gain information, etc, and powers let you do action X (or foil enemy action Y) with skill Z in situation W. You roll 5d6 and hope for 6s, with some bonus 6s from skills/specialities and a number of rerolled dice equal to your stat, which I found frustrating because I can't roll for beans. If some of this sounds like Fate, apparently that's not an accident.

There is a somewhat Microscope-like section at the beginning of the game, where the group determines what kind of world this is, what the darkness threatening it is, and what the people living in the world are doing about it. The magical girls were completely my fault, but not the steampunk!

My character was a random girl who got bonked on the head with a magical girl artifact that fell as part of the meteor storms and was then attacked by monsters and had to fight them off with her new unicorn-dragon-thing. We also had a steampunk inventor (Tony Spark) with powered armor who wanted to integrate magical girl power and steampunk power because neither could defeat the darkness on its own, a disillusioned magical girl who thought steampunk was the way to go, the perfectly normal engineer who got pulled into all this because she wasn't going to let a 12-year-old run around fighting monsters on her own regardless of whether she had a unicorn-dragon-thing, and a crazy shouting old guy with an unhealthy attachment to his scooter. It was tricky (until we found out you could spend heroic points for +3 successes, which is a good deal in a one-shot), but we did manage to defeat the Dark Lord of Apathy and save the tin foundry. Hurray!

Rather than trying to find a new place to eat in the short time between afternoon and evening games, I went back to the pho joint and ate more tasty, tasty noodle soup.

Back to known games for Urban Dungeon World, DW characters going on a heist in a city instead of a quest in a dungeon. This GM actually understood PbtA and asking questions, so once I infected the group with the idea of a city built on the skeleton of a dead dragon, we had some worldbuilding and economic catastrophe due to the marrow mines playing out and the Man keeping the halfling down. My halfing defender of the oppressed had the chain from when she was on a chain gang in prison as her signature weapon, and it carried all the spirits of those who had died while shackled (though she never had a good opportunity to call on them). We also had a humanist priest, a noble bard, a wizard who flamed out of magic school, and a dwarf who tried really hard to assimilate with the humans. Someone hired us to steal a thing from a guy and promised to share the ultimate power with us, and nobody liked the guy who had the thing, so we did the heist. We actually got through the traps and frog-goons okay (although the dwarf did get his fancy golden teeth ripped out by a rock monster), but it ended up with the bard taking the Maguffin and sacrificing himself to renew the marrow mine, and everyone else had to go report partial failure and then head off to join in the revolution. It was pretty swell.


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12 October 2018 - Friday

In the morning slot, there were no games I had wanted to sign up for (or maybe no games still open at all, I don't remember), so I went to the panel on sexuality and romance in gaming, which turned out to be more about relationships and intimacy and the bankruptness of the romantic subplot railroad compared to the idiosyncratic ways actual relationships progress from intimacy to intimacy. There was also some about how to talk to people you find attractive, with mention of the disintegration of social networks after WWI that I would have liked to hear more about.

I tried to go someplace picked out of the restaurant guide in the con schedule for lunch, but it didn't seem to exist, so I ended up at a diner called ButtercuP and had chicken marsala because Trader Joe's no longer sells marsala sauce for me to eat at home.

There was enough time to peek in on the panel on Modern Imagination (be respectful when yoinking culture, appreciate your sensitivity readers) and pillage the dealers' room for hardcopies of things I had only backed in PDF on Kickstarter and then regretted, before my first actual game of the con started.

In Masks: Homecoming, I played the Beacon, but did not do a very good job. I am proud of making her a Muslim cheerleader with headscarf and covered legs (plus it meant she could wear her superhero costume under her cheerleading uniform at the big game), but phasing and stealth are maybe not as flamboyant as a Beacon should be. Or maybe it's me that's not as flamboyant. Yah, that seems pretty likely.

The GM had a clever idea about custom moves when your character's favorite song is playing during the homecoming dance, but that ended up not being the scene for the climactic final confrontation, so it fell a little flat. More importantly, I don't think he got the important PbtA principle of "to do the move, do it", or at least he didn't explain it at all. The pacing was also a little slow. On the other hand, Sarita, who played the vampire who sucked my Monsterhearts character dry last year, was playing the Bull in this game. She's cool.

For dinner, I tried to get Japanese food, but they left me sitting for half an hour without taking my order, and I didn't have time for that nonsense. I ended up going back to the hotel restaurant, which was not great, but it was food so that I did not die. I guess at a con, you take what you can get.

In the evening slot, more Masks! Stop Toying With Us was another school-dance-oriented session, and bizarrely had pregen characters. I've never seen that in a PbtA game! I ended up with Trent, the Legacy speedster, lacrosse team captain, BMOC, and boyfriend of the head cheerleader, also a PC (another role I am not suited to play). I can't deny that pregens are quicker, but they were much less engaging, not just my character who I didn't get to create, but all the other characters who weren't created by the group.

I'm almost certain I used to be able to stay up until midnight without imploding.


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11 October 2018 - Thursday

Getting to Walnut Creek by transit takes a long time, but I made it and got checked in and everything without incident. Carl was doing something with his secret cabal of indie gamers, so I went with Liralen and her friend Kevan and Kevan's husband Greg (who is very quiet) to have pho. Pho is good, even though I avoided it for a long time because I am a messy eater.

Tonight was mostly socialization, not serious gaming events, but a bunch of people playing a two-player game and switching partners after every round is like socialization. Thank You Kindly is a game in which two characters interact for a few minutes, and then the players decide which one was more like Red Riding Hood and which was more like the Big Bad Wolf. There were four rounds, but after the third round I ended up talking with my partner(? - not opponent!) Patrick for so long that we missed the fourth round. I don't know that I need to play this game again, since I already knew I am rubbish at being the Wolf.

After that was the Soda Pop Social. I brought many strange sodas (even my small local Bevmo had quite a few, although not as many as the big one in MV) but only drank a few because none of them were diet.

While I was waiting for Liralen, I must have looked lonely, because one of the BBC staff, Jeremy, came over and started talking to me. He was pretty cool, actually! And then Liralen arrived, and more people started to accrete, including Meguey Baker, and some people named I think Sasha and Montse. It was quite the happening table, for a few minutes!

On the principle of "begin as you mean to go on", I went to bed at a reasonable hour.

That trick never works.


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10 October 2018 - Wednesday

Ken is, bizarrely, back from Portland, so we played 13th Age, but the food we got from Mint & Basil was not edible by anyone named Shields, so although our wizard blew up all the skeletons and the minorog, we could not really call it a successful evening.

Words: 153.

Escaping from Portland by marithlizard (Tue Oct 16 16:19:44 2018)

Why bizarrely? Did you think Ken would become trapped in the sinsister clutches of Voodoo Donuts, requiring an enormous ransom of powdered sugar for his return? *eyes last week's shopping list in sudden suspicion*

Re: Escaping from Portland by Trip (Tue Oct 16 20:18:41 2018)

I figured Ayse would just start living in Portland and make him stay there forever.

Re: Escaping from Portland by marithlizard (Wed Oct 17 02:49:43 2018)

Thank goodness for the anchoring properties of hous^H^H^^Hproperties!

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9 October 2018 - Tuesday

It's like Monday, on Tuesday! Or vice versa.

Avalon's life is very strange.

Words: 125.

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8 October 2018 - Monday

I only managed to do a few things today, but I did manage to get to Chef Chu in Mountain View for dinner with Liralen and Carl (who I will see at Big Bad Con) and also Earl and Cat (everyone else bailed for silly reasons like work or germs). Yay, Peking duck!

Mountain View is not very conveniently located.

Looks like my boss has been promising customers support on a company holiday.

Avarice (Annie Bellet) is fantasy police procedural, with two partners who have dark pasts and nothing in common, because of course. It is allegedly part of the "Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division" series, but the other books don't seem to exist on Amazon, so I don't know.

Words: 111.

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7 October 2018 - Sunday

I did not manage to do any things, except reach the daily limit on reblogging leftist rants and half-dressed anime girls on tumblr.

Words: 275 on the new project.

Weekly total: 2199, but it probably doesn't count.

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6 October 2018 - Saturday

Franken Fran (Katsuhisa Kigitsu) shows that biomedical horror is the most horrible horror. Even if Fran herself is cute in a horrible way.

  • Sailor Moon S 36-37: Jus had a good theory, which was then not supported by the actual writing. Perhaps this is the day on which she counts as a fan.
  • Laid-Back Camp 12: The End! Although I hear there's a season 2 coming.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 2.3: Mammalian reproduction is the pits.
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.8: I think we could have done without the Predatory Lesbian trope, but that's pretty much my only complaint.
  • My Hero Academia 44-45: End of this villain attack! But it couldn't happen to a nicer more deserving rival.

Words: 385 on new project.

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5 October 2018 - Friday

More Gloomhaven! We succeeded, and I got two checks for not using any items, even though it caused me to pass out on the last turn.

Words: 209 on new project.

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4 October 2018 - Thursday

Avalon is very tired, but alive!

Marith cooked salmon with dill and lemon, and it turned out very well!

Also we watched The Good Place episode 27, the double-length opener for season 3. It was definitely with signing up for Hulu's free trial on the card I'm going to close soon for, although not as great as some past episodes.

Words: 222.

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3 October 2018 - Wednesday

Even though Ken is in Portland, those of us who had not already made other plans (so, just me and Mike) hung out with Dave. We talked about running a game in Glorantha, but did not have a quorum to either accept or reject 13th Age Glorantha, so were restricted to higher-level discourse. We agreed that PCs should lose powers if they don't properly worship the gods with their community, and that flashbacks are a good way to introduce Glorantha stuff to n00bs. Also we ate Indian food (I think this is the one).

Once the table was cleared off, we tried introduce Mike to Gloomhaven, and mostly succeeded. Even though we were replaying a scenario, it took forever to set up, because there are not just a million piece, but a million different kinds of pieces. Then we failed to have the boss do anything except summon elite minions, so we could not get to the treasure chest behind the door that only he could open, and eventually had to give up because it was late and Dave's brain was imploding and probably we would wipe even if we played out the rest of the fight. Bah!

Words: 120.

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2 October 2018 - Tuesday

The doctor seemed approving of the results of my life choices, and if I can manage to get lab work done, I might even have fewer pills to take. Also I am about 5kg less than before, which always makes doctors happy.

While trundling back and forth to the doctor's office, which is not very conveniently located, I read the fourth Murderbot story, which pretty much wraps things up. Hurray for Murderbot!

Also I read a short story by Scott Lynch, "The Effigy Engine", which was fine but not amazingly astounding. It did have a nice breadth of magic, with almost every spell cast on-screen being unique (although some were clearly not unique overall).

Marith and I went to see the My Hero Academia movie, because it was unexpectedly playing at a local theater tonight. It was okay, but suffered from being episodic and not tied into the main plot or character development. Also, they introduced a new female character just for the movie, and while I'm okay with Deku getting all the chicks, I couldn't help thinking that every moment she was onscreen could have been spent on Froppy instead.

Words: 165.

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1 October 2018 - Monday

Words: 823 on new project (total 1399). Only a few zillion more and I can show it to people!

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30 September 2018 - Sunday

I was so useless today! Even more useless than that!

Because I had the DVD from Netflix, I watched Hancock. That was kind of a strange movie. But it presented not being an asshole as a good thing, which we need more of.

Words: 576 on a completely different project, which I will count anyway.

Weekly total: 1535.

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29 September 2018 - Saturday

Sword & Backpack is awfully cute, but I'm not sure I know anyone who could play it successfully.

Unicorn on a Roll (Dana Simpson) is I guess the second collection of comic strips about an unspeakably vain unicorn and the 4th-grader who wished for her as a best friend. It is pretty adoable.

It turns out everyone likes apple cider donuts.

  • Sailor Moon S 35/124: Things look bad for the good guys, but we have three more episodes for them to get even worse!
  • Laid-Back Camp 11: Was Japan a nation of everyday alcoholism before the US occupied them? Maybe it just goes with the baseball.
  • My Hero Academia 42-43: Some people's quirks are just gross.
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.7: Only the truly exceptional have room in their hearts for love AND chuunibyo!

Words: 175.

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28 September 2018 - Friday

Coworker M's going-away party was this afternoon. I went, to pretend like I can function in human society, but then left early, because it's not a very strong ruse.

Words: 124. I have no excuse, I just suck.

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27 September 2018 - Thursday

Had to do a work thing for a customer after hours, and it ran until almost 23:00. Bah, customers.

Words: 151. I blame customers.

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26 September 2018 - Wednesday

Ken was afflicted by train delays (it's almost as though railroads aren't particularly safe), and Kelsey was entirely thwarted by capitalism sucking out her life force, but we still managed to have Indian food and a little 13th Age. Mostly we just planned what to do next in our quest to save the world from being eaten. Fortunately this friend we've made would never betray us, right?

Even Mike thinks 13th Age Glorantha is too complicated!

Ken made faces at the idea of using Dungeon World, but I think this idea has traction, even if I can't adequately explain to Mike how DW works. (Possibly a sign that I don't fully understand it myself.)

Glorantha World isn't quite a reskin of DW, but if we go the minimal route, instead of "fixing" everything that's "wrong" with DW, I think we only need to change last breath and end of session of the basic moves. We'll need all new playbooks, though.

Even though I don't like D&D any more, I like reading OSR stuff for the gonzoness, and Gathox Vertical Slum definitely falls into that category. A crowded city built on the back of a god that wanders from world to world, picking up random science-fantasy weirdos who form gangs to seize territory, is not innately very D&D, but it is gonzo.

Words: 135.

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25 September 2018 - Tuesday

Marith did cooking again. It was even tastier, maybe because there was more marination.

Words: 237.

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24 September 2018 - Monday

It's not like my weekend was strenuous, but it involved a lot of people all the time. Do I really have to go to work?

Yes. Yes, I do.

Even in Canada, capitalism annoys Avalon with jobs full of horrible coworkers. Bah.

Marith did more cooking, so I did not starve!

Even if I take all the D&D out of DW, I think it's still DW because I'm not changing the GM rules, and those are arguably the core of the system.

Game design is hard, let's die in a pit.

Words: 137.

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23 September 2018 - Sunday

Deirdre is full of germs, but we had PAD&D anyway.

The party after last session's great victory is suddenly interrupted by word that the Heroines' way home has become unstable and they need to go right away! [SPOILER] leads them through the fortress to the [SPOILER], tossing them some loot as thanks for their hard work. They get through just in the nick of time (sans Hazelrae, who has been sent on another interdimensional adventure), ending up at the [SPOILER] of the recently defeated enemy, much nearer to home. Some of the enemy's servants are there, but wounded, dispirited, and now disappointed that the Heroines can't get them back to their master's stronghold since they are trapped by invaders from the depths. (Serves them right for taking over a [SPOILER] for their lair.)

Since the former enemies are willing to repent, and maybe convert to worship of the Crystal Dragon, the Heroines take them with as they fight through the slimy and multi-[SPOILER] problems from the depths. It is enough of a struggle that they understand why the former servants weren't willing to face it, but they are the Heroines of Red Larch!

Sadly, it turns out that those problems were fleeing something even worse, and the Heroines see no alternative but to surrender to decadent but heavily armed [SPOILER]. However, it is not much after that when another problem shows up, and if only Hazelrae can reappear, perhaps they will be able to make their escape and resume saving the world!

Signup for Big Bad Con is almost fully open, so I filled up my remaining slots with random stuff.

No one could stand to wait another week to see end of Nirvana in Fire, so we all gathered back at Monkeycat Mountain. Who cares that we have to work tomorrow?

  • Nirvana in Fire 53-54: Earl opined that it could have ended after the Climactic Conversation, but I think the denoument was important.

Words: 142.

Weekly total: 1526.

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22 September 2018 - Saturday

  • Sailor Moon S 34: Well, that's not going to help Mugen Academy's graduation rates.
  • Nirvana in Fire 51-52: Finally, the climactic confrontation that has been building for more than fifty episodes! But we have to wait until tomorrow to find out what happens, because we could not watch four episodes in one night.

Words: 106. Good thing I haven't increased my quota from 100!

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Previously in Trip's Life

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