Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 December 2001 - Monday

It's the last day of 2001, and I still don't have a flying car or a personal rocketship! Hmph!

I guess I still have five hours until the GMT year rolls over, though, so I shouldn't complain just yet!

* * *

It's the new year in GMT. No flying car. Fooey.

But, when I went to the Bertani-Young's to play Cosmic Encounter, I randomly drew the Parasite power, and almost won, so that was okay!

I got Diana Wynne Jones books and a very cute monkey book from Angie, and strange comics from Marith, and reprinted old SF books from the Kruger-Murdochs, so that was okay too.

Then there was Chinese food, and now I am at home catching up on my writing. Later, I will go to Harold's New Year party.

* * *

Marith decided she'd rather go to sleep early than go to a party 'til all hours, so without a ride I also do not go to the party because Harold moved to BF Palo Alto. But that's okay. I will just pulsate.

flying cars! by kit (Mon Dec 31 12:18:18 2001)

Damn them, anyway! What do they think they're doing, if not developing our goddamned flying cars!? (Not that I'm sure who 'them' are, but nevermind that.)

Perhaps by midnight GMT they'll have surprised us and we'll have our flying cars, though!

flying cars! by Trip (Mon Dec 31 20:23:05 2001)

Nope. It's been the new year for over four hours, and no flying cars. Hmph. I want a better future.

Make a comment!

29 December 2001 - Saturday

Slept in a lot, because I was up until all hours zooming home, but that's okay, because Kit and Chrisber and Christy are all returned from their vacations! Yay!

Having done my TBG turn for Friday (not due until Monday, so no harm done), I must now scuttle to get my comics from Friday, and then return home to catch up on my web browsing and laundry and writing and whatnot. Wheee.

* * *

I actually did all those things I intended to do, although I'm not completely caught up on writing yet. I also level-upped my character in Silkie's D&D game. Yay me.

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28 December 2001 - Friday

We arose to find Earl already arrived, and Sherilyn panicking. However, with five of us, we were able to corner her against the back wall of the dining room and pin her in place with a table, and then she didn't really have much choice except to run D&D1.

Our wandering Amazon Quintet of Justice (Sophia the human paladin, Fresa the dwarven cleric, Alyssa the human druid, Solara the elven security expert, and Amaryllis the halfling sorceress) was hired by a dwarf to fetch some papers of his distant ancestor's from the ancient dwarven burial ground recently inhabited by a lich but allegedly now doom-free.

To make a long story short, we used courtesy and cleavage to extract information from a local scholar that the rival treasure-hunters had failed to bully out of him, failed to convince the one cute and highly protectable member of that rival party to defect, satisfied ourselves as to the worthiness of our dwarven friend's cause, and set off to the ruins.

When we finally arrived, we found and snuck in through the secret janitorial entrance that the friendly scholar had told us about, giggling surreptitiously at the other party as they worked on digging out the caved-in main entrance. Excitement with dire rats, traps, zombies, a mummy, and a carrion crawler ensued, which wore us down enough that we decided to retreat back to our camp in the woods to rest up and regain spells before pushing onward. The next morning, bright and early, we snuck back into the burial complex and continued down the spiral. At the point where the layout deviated from its dwarven regularity, we were assaulted by cold-spitting heckhounds but made short work of them. The end was in sight! Except for the Evil Stairs leading downward, nothing stood between us and our goal, so we carefully hopped over the unworn steps and gathered up the papers our employer wanted, along with any valuables that didn't seem to be specifically grave goods and thus off-limits according to our source of dwarven spiritual authority.

As we were packing up to leave, the rival treasure hunters burst into the room and shout, "Hand over the papers!" They were confused by our response of "Augh! You IDIOTS! You stepped on the EVIL STAIRS!" but it became apparent that we weren't gratuitiously changing the subject when the room filled with blobby melted-wax-ish demons that began savaging us all impartially (if not very savagely).

Then the Very Large Bone Demon created a wall of ice across the middle of the chamber to divide our forces into easily digestible chunks and things became much worse. Fortunately it was an NPC who demonstrated the folly of charging the demon; unfortunately, the demon was almost entirely immune to our spells. Our paladin and cleric managed to hack through the wall of ice and join the fight with their magic weapons (capable of actually hurting the demon), which changed our projected quick and brutal death to a long and lingering one.

Amaryllis was zero for three on spells (web disintegrated, earth elemental and fire elemental were unable to do anything other than mar the demon's shiny finish), so broke out her carefully horded magical flaming bolts and proceeded to shoot up some relatively inoffensive stone walls.

Sophia's protection against evil let her go toe-to-toe with the demon, and the other party's cleric kept pumping life energy into her, but it was Amaryllis finally getting a good shot2 in that took the demon down. Then everyone with a magical hand-to-hand weapon chopped the thing to bits and jumped up and down on the bits until they dissolved into nonagressive ickiness. Hurrah for us!

The other party said, "So we're going to split the treasure, right?" and was blown back against the walls by the force of our indignation. Solara and Amaryllis explained to the cute protectable boy what his blazingly stupid teammates had done to nearly get him killed, but he still wouldn't defect. Alas.

We returned in triumph to the town, fulfilled all professional and social obligations3, and sent up bird-like cries of "Eep! Eep!".

Then there was the protracted explanation to Sherilyn of just why this had to be a campaign now: "It was swell! The climactic scene was great! We must have more! And look at all the plot hooks you set up!" Finally our good sense prevailed, although we haven't actually scheduled a second session.

By this time it was quite late, but Marith had napped away much of the afternoon to make up for being ill the previous night, so she was up for driving home and zoomzoomzoom back to my parasitelair!

1: Who says "take hostages, issue demands" isn't a viable plan?

2: It was immune to fire, of course, but the bolt itself hit a tender spot.

3: And some that were both: "I'll identify these for half-price if you two go out with me!"

Amazon Quintet of Justice! by Silkie (Mon Dec 31 22:06:03 2001)

Wow! That sounds much cooler than the game I ran!

Amazon Quintet of Justice! by Trip (Tue Jan 1 14:18:51 2002)

It only sounds better because I came up with a good catchphrase.

Make a comment!

27 December 2001 - Thursday

Lunch! Packing! Then, at 13:45, we zoom away to Dublin to see Fellowship of the Ring in extra-mind-blowing IMAX! After the movie, we zoom to Roseville to adire Sherilyn and sleep! When Earl joins us tomorrow, we will game until either we're all dead or we have all the XP, and then zoom back home! And then fall over tud.

* * *

Despite the perfidy of the 101N->237E exit, we made it to the theater on time, and Carl had not been abducted by aliens so he was there with our tickets, and casualties in line were relatively light.

Emily says it wasn't a real IMAX screen, but it was certainly very large and impressive. I guess it's been shown that trailers on a larger screen are more effective, because there were sure a lot of them. Spiderman and The Time Machine looked interesting, and Queen of the Damned looked extremely cheesy. I don't remember any of the others, so neener neener to advertisers!

Then they actually showed us Fellowship of the Ring and my brain fell right out! It was an extremely fine movie, or maybe better than that. Since my memory of the book is pretty faded, I didn't really notice the changes that were made, and anyway I accept that cinema is a different medium than prose and requires different optimizations of the story for maximum effect. So taken on its own merits as a movie, it was a very very fine rendition of the story.

And my, but Frodo was cute. It's probably just as well he didn't get any romantic subplots, or I would have had Hotohori flashbacks: "But how can I love any of these women when I am more beautiful than them all?". :)

Yay scary cave troll! Yay terrifying balrog! Yay Middle Earth1! Yay ultracool walking-on-snow elves2! Yay heroic rangers!

1: The New Zealand Ministry of Tourism (or whatever their local equivalent is) is so indebted to Peter Jackson, it's ridiculous.

2: "You know it's a real fight when Legolas gets smudged."

* * *

After the movie we drove across the parking lot to feed upon the flesh of the fallen cow and dissect the movie. Our waitress was pretty cute, but she was not as cute as Frodo.

Then we parted from Carl and drove to Roseville, where Al and Sherilyn were still awake to greet us even though we didn't arrive until after 23:00. Discussion and blurry contemplation of characters (on the part of those who hadn't finished them before setting out) filled the gap between arrival and bedtime.


Falling over Giggling at Legolas comment by Liralen (Sun Jan 6 15:26:28 2002)

"You know it's a real fight when Legolas gets smudged."

That made me giggle a lot. Now that I've actually seen it, I must agree with your review, though yours was far more funny, clever and cheerfully snide than I could have written. I really enjoyed the review as well as the movie! Yay!

Re: Legolas! by Trip (Sun Jan 6 19:25:35 2002)

The comment isn't original to me, alas, but I forget who exactly I heard it from. Carl or Marith or Aberdeen or Rebecca or someone like that.

Have faith in your own cheerful snide!

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26 December 2001 - Wednesday

I have now consumed all the cocoa-rum balls.

* * *

And that's really about all I've accomplished today. Splut.

* * *

Okay, not quite: I have also finally watched the last tape of Hyper Police, which did in fact come to a climax and resolution. I even think the moral choice was made correctly, although maybe not for the same reasons the protagonists did.

Now I can watch the Outlaw Star DVDs that Carl gave me. Well, after I go see FotR tomorrow and play D&D in Roseville on Friday, anyway.

Make a comment!

25 December 2001 - Tuesday

Merry Chrisbermas!

Today's loot:

Wheee! I have the best friends!

Now, a festive1 breakfast of er Trader Joe's frozen burritos, before I get swooped up by Emily to go see Ocean's Eleven.

1: The label on the package was red and green! What more do you want?

* * *

Ocean's Eleven was sold out, hmph! So instead we saw Kate & Leopold, which wasn't bad. Hugh Jackman, as Emily said, cleans up real nice. I had it pegged as a girl movie, especially for some of the end bits, but Emily disagrees, because girl movies give her hives and Kate & Leopold didn't. So I dunno. But it was entertaining. And has plenty of room for sequels in a variety of genres.

We both thought Liev Schreiber looked awfully familiar, but I don't think I've seen anything else he's been in. Confusion reigns.

Now I updateupdateupdate my web page so I can at least start making a D&D3e character for Sherilyn's game that we might be going up for on Friday, before going to Chinese dinner (as is the custom of the Jewish people and their atheist friends since time immemorial).

* * *

Chinese food, yum! Gollubhouse, not bad2. Grave Robbers from Outer Space, amusing, but perhaps not well-balanced. Staying up past 01:00 making a character for Sherilyn's game, unwise but horribly compelling.

2: Bonus points for the closet which contains the fireplace.

Make a comment!

24 December 2001 - Monday

Whee, it's Christmas Eve! Not that this has much, if any, impact on my behavior; the family tradition when I was growing up was to wait until Christmas morning for all presents, and even if I were to take up the peculiar foreign habit of opening presents on Christmas Eve, I already opened all my present1. :)

1: Don't feel bad; none of my presents2 are getting to anyone until well after Christmas, so I can hardly point fingers.

2: Except the ones I emailed, and those are kind of cheesy anyway.

* * *

Last night I not only got Laura to agree to play Elfs on New Year's Day (along with Bryant and hopefully one or two more people) but talked her into buying the PDF for real (hey, it's only $10!). I have a mere seven days to come up with a sufficiently cheesy adventure.

Hmm... cheese...

* * *

The two Peter Murphy CDs I picked up, Cascade and Holy Smoke, are okay but not as cool as Deep. Oh well.

* * *

I am eating a very large number of cocoa-rum balls. Christy is insidious!

* * *

Hrm. I can come up with cheesy doubletalk to let 30s++ rocketships attain interstellar velocities, but it doesn't please me and it doesn't really allow for space piracy/combat. Maybe I will be reduce to scavenging Dr Earl's idea of regions between stars where distance is compressed in one direction, so if you find the right place interstellar trips can be as short as interplanetary ones. This lets me avoid hyperspace (a 50s or 60s concept anyway, pretty much), makes astrogation important, confines ships to small regions ("starlanes") so they can encounter each other, and otherwise supports a lot of pulp SF conventions. But I didn't think of it, because I suck, so it makes me uncomfortable to use it. Sigh.

* * *

I went out bookshopping and found some more books of the sort that I wouldn't want to make someone get me as a present, as well as another couple on the used list. And some new water-soluble markers for a battlemap, should I ever run anything that needs a battlemap.

Then, dinner with Dr Earl, Dr Jeremy, and their assorted groupies and dependents. Yum, sushi!

* * *

I wonder what the LD50 of cocoa-rum balls is.

Make a comment!

23 December 2001 - Sunday

I opened my present from Liralen this morning, just because, and sure enough, it's the Ranma boxed DVD set! Yay Liralen! Liralen is so cool!

Anyone else who may have planned to get me this for Christmas is also cool, just suffering the consequences of not obesessively keeping up with the comments on this page. :)

I already keep a plaintext log of all comments made, for my own edification; maybe I should make it available on the web as well, to make it easier to keep up. Survey! Would this be worth the screen real-estate it consumes? Would it be better directly on the main page (and if so, where?), or as a separate file that's only linked from the main page? Comment now!

* * *

Yummy as they are, I must eat something today besides the cocoa-rum balls Christy made me. Ah! At dinnertime I will hike down to the shopping zone near Tower Records, to buy more Peter Murphy CDs (since Ambar has gotten me hooked, damn her eyes!1) and eat non-cocoa-rum (if not necessarily healthy) dinner and do a bit of grocery shopping for the coming week (since I don't know if stores will be open tomorrow and they almost certainly won't the day after).

1: I'm not really mad despite thinking CDs are evil; I just always wanted to say "Damn your eyes!". :)

* * *

The Bertani-Youngs have left town now, like most people. Sniff. I don't think this will be a very social Christmas season, oh well.

* * *

I continue to wibble at Elfs, since everyone has left town. Not that many people have the appropriate sort of twistedness to play a game in which the three "alignments" for PCs are Oral, Anal, and Genital anyway, I guess. Bryant has expressed interest, and Laura probably would enjoy it, but the other prime victim, Tara, is not only gone but never coming back! Sniff!

Well, if you read this and it sounds like fun, comment me, baby. Making up an adventure shouldn't take long.

* * *

News Flash!2 Tara has made it safe and sound to her home in Connecticut, despite the perfidy of Big Air Travel and lack of good net connectivity at her mom's house. Merry Christmas to the tiggy!

2: Aren't you glad I didn't use the <blink> tag?

Plaintext Comments by Liralen (Sun Jan 6 15:31:01 2002)

I don't think you need to do anything different than what you already have. I really like associating the comments with the entries you've written and maybe it's just that I'm used to that from or something... I could see wanting to see all comments at once if it were my journal, but it's kind of cool as a comment maker to just see the comments on the articles that I'm interested in... so my vote would be that you keep things as they are!

Make a comment!

22 December 2001 - Saturday

Today seemed like it was going to be another lethargic vacation day spent staring into the depths of the CRT, but around mid-afternoon I became useful.

First I went to the nearer used bookstore (as opposed to the one that's on my way home from work) to look for more books on my list of ancient SF books (mostly cribbed from the sixteen thousand James Nicoll posts but also from mentions by Dr Earl and other people). I found a few, and only had a little tiny bookstore accident at the new bookstore next door.

Then, I wrapped Marith's present and headed over to the new Bertani-Younglair. I can't say the walk there is nicer than to their old place, since it's all along a busy street instead of partially along a nice bike trail, but it's only half as long, and seems even shorter because I've walked the route so many times to/from the Kruger-Murdoch's place.

Christy interrupted her baking of yummy Christmas goodies to feed us (Marith and I) yummy roast chicken, with yummy stuffing and yummy gravy and peas with yummy pearl onions, because she is an egg of extraordinarily high quality! Then, once we were safely bloated, we watched Iron Chef "Battle Homard1": the episode where Iron Chef French goes down to his first-ever defeat. And boy, was it a good thing we had just eaten!

Marith gave into curiosity and opened her present, which was all existing fansub tapes of her third-favorite anime series in the world, Kodoma no Omocha, and also a nice kanji dictionary that was supposed to be for her birthday only Amazon didn't ship it until this month. Hee hee!

Then Christy went back to her baking while Chrisber showed us pictures from Orycon (Ayse and CZR in Japanese garb, Harold in an Enterprise jumpsuit, and Christy as a very good Agatha from Girl Genius; prizewinning, even!) and the Lego computer game Alpha Team2 which is actually pretty cool. You have your little Lego guys who you must set going through a multi-level Lego villainous base, guiding them through by setting up paths of guidance tiles ("turn here", "leap!") and Lego elements like stairs and slides and teeter-totters. In the later levels you get more guys who all start running simultaneously, and bombs to blow up obstacles, and zombies that you must deactivate by reaching the Evil Orb, and whatnot, so timing is important and the limited supply of movable elements becomes hair-pullingly small.

Eventually Marith tired of this and fled, but Chrisber and I did a couple more levels until we noticed it was midnight and I had to scuttle home bearing Christy's gift of parasite-compatible cocoa-rum balls (yum!) and Chrisber's gift of a device for converting neurons into photons3. Oops. :)

1: I didn't know the French for "lobster" before this either. I guess TV is educational!

2: Bad BAD Lego! I wanted to find out if Alpha Team is available for Mac, because I might want to buy it, but the information about it is on a Flash-only page. Baaaaaad company, nooooo sale.

3: "It conserves brightness! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!" Ahem.

* * *

Walking always seems to be much better for thinking than just sitting at home, and today I travelled to and from the used bookstore and then to and from the Bertani-Young's, so I got a fair amount of thinking in, mostly gaming-related.

Chris Siebenmann was making hopeful eyes at me the other day to run an on-line game in which he could swashbuckle. I tried to foist this off on Marith, but she pointed out that if she wasn't feeling up to finishing Thieves & Things, she certainly wasn't up to running something else, and I couldn't really disagree.

So I thought about 30s Pulp SF Adventure, which is the most swash-buckly idea I have in the queue. Unfortunately, the conclusion I came do was that I don't actually have a well-enough defined idea to begin assembling a game. :)

The zeroth question is "Lensman-style Earthmen with spaceships going out to bring the benefits of Terran civilization to the wogs, or Barsoom-style lone hero inadvertently transported to a world of exotic adventure?" but I've pretty much already decided on the former. So now it's "Interplanetary travel, or all the way to interstellar?" The latter is kind of hard even with Atomic EnergyTM, since I want to at least pretend to not be anally violating physics as it was known at the time (which does include both SR and GR, no matter how many pulp rocketships just accelerated constantly to get to the stars). I'm thinking maybe something based on the GR-as-fluid-mechanics stuff that Kooistra has been hyping in the crank science column of Analog; it's almost certainly bogus in the real world, but might work okay as double-talk: something involving "bow waves" to get an Alcubierre-style "I'm not moving, the space I'm in is moving relative to the outside universe" effect for FTL. Add additional handwaving to avoid the problem of R-bombs (which our 30s++ people might not think of ab initio, but would certainly clue in to after the first time someone blows an astrogation roll and slams his ship into something at relativistic velocity), and watch the physicists cringe and whimper anyway. Oh well.

So, alien star systems, alien critters (many humanoid enough to serve as love interests), interstellar combat... not sure how you shoot another ship with only 30s++ technology for aiming. For that matter, I'm not sure how you shoot at someone with an Atomic Rifle and leave them still able to participate in future sessions. Glarg.

That's about as far as I got on 30s Pulp SF Adventure. I also considered Lovecraft Country, which is ostensibly my project for this vacation, but although I generated a lot of questions, I didn't answer even as many as above. I know that the setting needs some structure beyond "high school + Cthulhu Mythos", there has to be some explanation for why PCs are special and thus how they interact with the Mythos, I need to figure what being a comedy game means in terms of handling maiming, death, hideous mutation, and insanity (for that matter, I would like a spiffy mechanic to handle psychlims/insanity; I blame Elfs), a good way to keep Mythos threats concealed in a world with commercial satellite photography and cell phones yet accessible to high school students, some idea of what PC sorcery and and mad science can create and a system to adjudicate it, etc etc etc. Oh, and again at the metalevel, I need to decide whether to try to justify the toonish nature of events IC, or not bother. Blargh.

Hey, I just said I thought, not that I came to any conclusions!

* * *

Oh! That's what I forgot to mention! I got fan mail for Transmundane today, from a completely random person who was web-searching on "dream" or somesuch! I have an actual public! Wow!

Perhaps I need to borrow some of those lego bombs to explode my writer's block now!

links! by keeeet (Fri Dec 28 12:31:57 2001)

your link to Harold's name is desperately hornked up. It looks like this:>CZR%20in%20Japanese%20garb,

fan mail! by keeet (Fri Dec 28 12:34:13 2001)

yaaaaaaaaaaaaay! fan mail! yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

i have just read all your entries since, er, I went away on the 20th, and I must say, Trip, you're an awfully entertaining writer. giggle beam

Fan links! by Trip (Sat Dec 29 12:28:58 2001)

Oop! Darn those sneaky double-quotes, always sneaking away from their assigned locations!

I'm glad I have made the Kit giggle! Giggling Kits are best!

Later, I will updatify for the 27-29th.

Make a comment!

21 December 2001 - Friday

First day of vacation, and already I don't know what to do with myself. Or at least it seems that way, since I didn't leave the house until dinnertime. Probably not a good sign.

I typed in the introduction to Elfs just to have something to show people when trying to get them to play it, but now I am dubious about whether there is any point. At least I can touch-type reasonably well.

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20 December 2001 - Thursday

I'm not as dead this morning as I thought I would be, which is probably good. Plus, there was a full horizon-to-horizon rainbow on the way to work!

However, Livejournal fellates the ungulate this morning. Hmph.

* * *

My notice of impending vacation to the work mailing list made Barbara (the Best Admin and soon-to-be-famous painter of birds and feathers) burst out laughing. My work here is done.

But I can't actually leave for at least a half hour, so I guess I should do job stuff.

* * *

What I have actually done is make Amazon send presents to assorted people on my behalf. If you don't get one, it probably really is because I don't love you.

Make a comment!

19 December 2001 - Wednesday

Lots of dreams last night. I finally figured out that it was due to sucking out too much cerebrospinal fluid at dinner, which woke me up just enough to let me remember dreams, but didn't keep me out of REM sleep (good thing, too, or I'd be an even more brainless parasite than usual).

The first dream sequence was, like only a few of my dreams, clearly animated/drawn rather than live-action, and in a bizarre art style that I'm not sure I could describe even if I could still visualize it clearly. I'm not sure it was even an art style I'd like if I were to encounter it for real, but it was interesting to dream.

Most of the content of that dream is lost, but I know it was set in Nexus because some locations were swiped directly from SPD adventures. Kittygirls were also involved.

Then more Nexus dream, but live-action and featuring superheroes; lots of flying around and perching high up on buildings and stuff. This segued into a cosmically-powerful (trans-Superman) superhero and his sidekick wandering for some reason into what I can only call the maintenance tunnels of the universe (thought they were awfully spacious and well-lit for maintenance tunnels), where they discover that the universe is just the exhaust from a vessel of some kind (shiftship from the Authority setting, maybe) and furthermore that a little ways downstream from the exhaust (which seems to indicate increasing time), something went Wrong with the universe and introduced quantum indeterminacy or the ability of five right angles to fit into a circle or something else that clearly indicates a substandard universe. Finally, the superhero realizes that he's what's missing and flings himself into the fabric of the universe, making it All Okay.

Fastforward to the Other End Of Time (but not so fast that the audience fails to grasp that gigayears are passing for the superhero). When you reverse the direction of time, what you see is the universe again emerging from the exhaust of a hyperdimensional vehicle, possibly the same one. From this end of Time, the sidekick can see that the universe is missing something essential shortly after its creation that makes it too static and rigid. So, he flings himself into the exhaust.

(I'm sure deep analysis of this dream is possible, but I have no idea what it would reveal.)

There was another dream segment after the trip to the bathroom that ended that one, but "Rest In Peace" drove it out of my head after I woke up.

* * *

Today's wacky-yet-cool page: the Niles Monorail.

* * *

Today's just-plain-cool page: The Internet Stellar Database.

I particularly like Bonner Durchmusterung +492959: two G-type stars orbiting 274ish AU from each other, a fine place to set an SF story.

16 Cygni is also two Gs but farther apart, and one has a gas giant that swoops through the life zone about every 35 megaseconds, going from 1/6 to 4 times Earth's insolation during each orbit. A moon of said gas giant probably couldn't be human-habitable (even when it was at the right distance, the weather would be insane) but someone who had sucked out Hal Clement's brain could do so much with it.

Heck, even Poul Anderson's brain would be fine.

* * *

I remembered some of the final dream sequence! Bookstores were involved, and books about the Distant Future, which of course were experienced as part of the dream. At least one of the bookstores was very old-fashioned in decor and in clothing of staff and customers, and one in particular was run by clearly a Russian émigré babe, with the high-piled platinum hair and movie-star face and long black fur-trimmed coat and all. One of the books was about post-humans finally Transcending, and we both ended up in/reading the book, where one of the post-humans, which appeared as a human silhouette with random parts transparent/missing. The PH said consolingly to the Russian, "Sorry, Communism wasn't it," but being (I deduce) not cute and of no perceptible political alignment, I got dismissed out of hand: go play somewhere else, monkey.

When I encountered the Russian again the next day, I went "Erp" because with the white skin and white hair and black eyes and black clothes, against the white snowy background, she looked not unlike a human silhouette with parts missing! But no, she had not been seduced into Transcending, and was still all human.

Then the dream ended, so it didn't have time to turn out anything like the very first segment.

* * *

The bus failed me, so getting to comics took much longer than I had expected. If I had known VTA was going to suck that much, I would have just walked; on the way back, when I just missed that bus, I did walk and it only took me about 35 minutes.

Surprisingly, perhaps even unprecedentedly, everyone arrived at la fondue before our reservation time, so we were able to be seated promptly! Fondue for all! Well, all of us anyway.

My doctor would have had a heart attack at what I ate, but it's not like Tara moves to CT every week. At least, I hope not. At any rate, the fondue was quickly and efficiently devoured, and we got home not long after 23:30, which was better than I had expected. Yay us!

* * *

But, Kit has been taken from us! She is in Seattle for Christmas, which does not sound like it is very similar to being in her own Kitlair with her own computer. :(

* * *

Today's peculiar game find: Elfs, an RPG in which non-wise, non-elegant, non-innately-superior elfs run rampant (in more than one sense), only occasionally doing what their players want. It seems like it should be playable, at least by big freaks.

Make a comment!

18 December 2001 - Tuesday

Okay, so I'm not the only one who is terrible at Obligatory Present-Giving. That's something of a relief, although it doesn't change my failure to get presents for anyone except Marith and 1/N of Christy. Sigh.

* * *

I have to admit that having a LiveJournal account is awfully handy, since I can now foist the work of grovelling through 25 (as of this writing) LJ accounts looking for new entries off on the LJ servers, instead of having to do it myself and schlep all the formatting and presentation and old entries across the network.

* * *

Going-away dinner for Tara, sniff! Many people in attendance, which hopefully cheered her up. Plus, yummy Thai food always makes things better!

Now, I launder diligently, so I don't have to wear my

The Internet Is Full

shirt to work. It would have been fine with Bryant in command, but I'm not as sure about his replacement.

wear it! by angie (Tue Dec 18 22:06:16 2001)

Bills seems pretty cool, I think he'd be amused.

And the friends page function is precisely why I got an LJ account, and eventually upgraded to a paid account, because it's so damned useful. Especially up here, where the connection, she is slow, and I'm trying to load as few pages as possible.

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17 December 2001 - Monday

Another day of Carrying Things, and this time all my fault, since I didn't have to go to the used bookstore and buy um a dozen books and then go to the new bookstore and buy two more and then go to Safeway and buy two bags of groceries. And then carry them all a kilometer or two home (more for the things purchased earlier, obviously). Oof. My shoulders may never forgive me.

books! by kit (Tue Dec 18 10:46:59 2001)

giggle Oops. Trip had a liddle book accident. laugh laugh hugs :)

Books! by Trip (Tue Dec 18 12:48:38 2001)

Well, it wasn't really an accident, at least not the first part. I just failed to take into consideration the walking and groceries and stuff.

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16 December 2001 - Sunday

Well, I did most of what I needed to today. I got the groceries I need to take to work tomorrow morning, and I got the bookcases from Tara's place (with Dave's kind assistance). Then I went to partake of the cow with Tara, so I haven't done my other shopping or rearranged my lair to make space for the bookcases. But that's okay; those things can be done more or less at my leisure.

Oh, and I broke another bit off my magical disintegrating tooth. I really should go to a dentist. Maybe that's what I'll do with my 13 days of vacation.

Now, I think I will watch Angel.

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15 December 2001 - Saturday

Today was the big Bertani-Young move. Fortunately, it was well-organized, and also fortunately we had the giganticenormous Ambarmobile, which paled next to the Sixteen-Foot Stake Truck that Christy procured. (Probably the only time Ambar's truck will ever be referred to as "the little one".) Even so, it took two trips with both trucks and several cars, but we were nevertheless done in about four hours. I only got a little tired and grouchy, really!

The new place is right next door to the Kruger-Murdochs', which is much closer to the parasitelair, and conveniently almost on the direct route to the comics store (in case we ever manage to have Wednesday night anime again). Sadly, it isn't on the far side of the Hang Kong Bakery, so no more pre-anime dim sum, but oh well.

After the move, we (Adam, the Bertani-Youngs, and myself) had dinner with one of Christy's friends from the Stanford Savoyards, a very nice lady who fed us pretty darn good vegetable soup and pumpkin pie. Then I crawled back to my parasitenest. No Trader Joe's run tonight, I think.

Tomorrow, in addition to grocery shopping, I have to rearrange my apartment to free up the few remaining bits of wall, so that I can go over to Tara's and get her last three bookcases before she moves away (sniff!). Blargh.

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14 December 2001 - Friday

Hah hah, no more oncall for me!* I covered last weekend while Bruce went to Vegas, so he's covering this weekend while I... carry heavy boxes. Oh well.

*Not for the rest of the year, anyway.

* * *

Hmph. The one time I intend to stop and have dinner at Thai City on my way to Gamescape, I'm too early and they're closed! Hmph!

Plus, it offends me that the corrupt space-clam worshippers have a cool fiber-optic Christmas tree in their den. Do clams even celebrate Christmas? Probably, because it's now all about money.

But I am cheerful anyway, because I am home! Now I can feed, and later people will come over to help me watch more Ayashi no Ceres.

* * *

If I have calculated correctly, my last day of work this year is 20 Dec, and I don't have to return to my cube until 3 Jan. This is 13 days off, but 4 of them are weekend and 3 or 4 (I forget) are company holidays, so that's only 5-6 of my 7 vacation days that have to be used or losed by the end of January.

I have no idea what I will do with myself for 13 days. Sloth and gluttony, I expect.

* * *

Successful animewatching! Yay!

Rebecca looked pretty nice, too!

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13 December 2001 - Thursday

Oh, other things people could get me: In Nomine Anime (from Steve Jackson Games by Maya!) or the latest Hellboy novel, Bones of Giants (by Christopher Golden).

* * *

I ran into Earl at Gamescape. I'm sure there was something I was supposed to say to indicate that I don't hate him, but I have no idea what. Social interactions are so awkward. :(

But I have my writing done, whee, so I can spend the evening reading comics or watching anime or dying in a pit or whatever.

Probably dinner should figure into this somehow.

* * *

Oh! I know what I really need for Christmas! A new hat! My current hat is getting rather worn and odorous, and although it would probably be greatly improved by professional cleaning, taking it to the cleaner's would leave my head naked for days! So if I had a spiffy new hat, my head would be all happy.

hats and things! by keet (Fri Dec 14 15:40:10 2001)

Er, why would you hate Earl?

Eeee! trip would need another Excellent Hat! This is a Daunting Task!

Things! Hats! by Trip (Fri Dec 14 18:15:29 2001)

I don't hate Earl! But I never see him anymore since he has become one of the Mittmennites.

Another hat much like my current one would be fine, so it's not that daunting a task. I hope.

Most Excellent Hats! by Marith (Mon Dec 17 15:41:17 2001)

Yes, but we don't know where you got your hat or what size your head is! (Except for the right size to suck brains out wum wum wum.)

Hats! by Trip (Mon Dec 17 20:28:01 2001)

Burlingame Coat Factory. It's a medium, which is actually slightly too large, but workable.

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12 December 2001 - Wednesday

Since LiveJournal provides a handy feature for viewing the most recent entries of everyone you've tagged as a friend, I don't need individual links off my Web Habits page. After rearranging, though, I think I need two or three more webcomics, humor sites, gaming sites, or sites with all knowledge, to balance out the columns. Suggestions welcome!

If I were a good parasite, I would now redo my Bad Company page.

* * *

Leave work! Scuttle to get comics! Scuttle to the Kruger-Murdochs' to deposit Angel tape and also comics! Scuttle home to measure remaining niches of semi-free wall! Scuttle to hegemony's to help her take her books to the library! (Sniff! mony is leaving!) Scuttle home, fall over splut! Dinner now.

It was fun stuffing the books into the deposit slot, though! Slide slide slide tilt slip clatter! Slide slide tilt slip clatter!

webcomics! by Angie (Thu Dec 13 05:49:38 2001)

The only ones I read that you don't are GPF, PVP, Little Gamers (which isn't terribly good), and Goats (which is going through one of its incredibly bizarre periods again, though I'm overall fond of it. The first two and last I'd say give a try, but Little Gamers can probably be given a miss.

arrgh! by Angie (Thu Dec 13 05:51:00 2001)

My computer is underlining everything now, and I've scrod the previous entry by leaving out a " but I can't _find_ it to fix it and it's way too early in the morning for this. I think I'll go fly on a plane now. Sorry for messing your page up!

HTML errors by web-page maintainer Trip (Thu Dec 13 09:58:28 2001)

Fortunately, all the comments are stored as plain text files, so I can fix them!

If I were very clever, I'd run comments (and my own postings) through some sort of html checker before putting them up, but I'm not quite that clever today. Maybe tomorrow.

(Always code yesterday and code tomorrow, never code today.)

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11 December 2001 - Tuesday

Aieee. Google now has usenet archives going back to 1981, so my posts from the early 90s are finally available to the world. A sort of morbid narcissism compels me to read them.

<read read read>

Boy, I was an obnoxious git back then. Fewer errors of fact than errors of tact, though.

Apparently, I once posted to the same thread as Charlie Stross. Before I understood, of course.

Ooh, good .sig quote:

"A machine is as distinctively and brilliantly and expressively human as a violin sonata or a theorem in Euclid." -- Gregory Vlastos

Wow, a lot of people failed to grasp that my 'DiKote your monowhip!' post was sarcasm.

I seem to have had an RPG/science groups phase (when I posted from and a talk.bizarre phase (when I posted from Complicated by the period when JHart was using my Netcom account to post about obscure wargames.

* * *

If someone (or someones) wanted to get me the Ranma boxed set for Christmas, I wouldn't complain a lot.

* * *

Only for Liralen would I get a LiveJournal account. And only because she tempted me with friends-only entries. I'm certainly not going to use it to journal, since I have a perfectly good web-page right here.


* * *

Wow, this is the Night of Hot and Cold Running Oncalls. Doesn't seem to be anything systematic, just Murphy's Law of Probabilistic Distribution.

Ranma by gconnor (Tue Dec 11 23:02:28 2001)

I just got the box set for myself, and I'm keeping it at work, in case anyone is interested in seeing it on Thursday Anime. I have a roll-up banner we can use to advertise to people, if folks are interested :)

Ranma! by Trip (Wed Dec 12 08:28:54 2001)

But it's so wrong to buy things for oneself in December!

(With the exception of things that one might not like; it's not fair to tell someone else one wants something and then be displeased with it.)

Ranma!! by gconnor (Wed Dec 12 20:16:09 2001)

Well, there's the buying something for myself aspect, but I'm also redeemed by mitigating Factors:

Part the First: I get to share Ranma with co-workers on anime day.

Part the Second: I actually have these episodes on tape, but they are bootleg copies, so I'm taking this opportunity to become Honest.

Part the Third: Whereas Angie told me about them, she gets the amazon kickback. So she can't say I never got her anything :)

I shall now go write in my own journal as pennance for writing more in yours than I have written in my own, all week.

Buying the set by a trip friend! (Thu Dec 13 09:03:23 2001)

I got dibs! I got dibs! On sending Trip the Ranma set! A Trip Xmas present! Keen.

Re: Buying the set by Trip (Sun Dec 23 13:36:13 2001)

Yay Liralen! Liralen is so cool! (And she burbles unmistakeably, too! :)

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10 December 2001 - Monday

If you've read about my sleeping pattern over the weekend, you can guess how I feel this morning. :(

However, it has finally occurred to me that this is a good place to mention things I wouldn't object to getting for <insert Solstice season celebration of your choice>! Greed greed greed! Well, okay, not that much greed.

Anyway, good things to get me if you feel obligated to get me something and are allergic to Amazon wishlists: the three Hal Clement collections, the two Eric Frank Russell collections, or the two William Tenn collections from NESFA.

More ideas later, hopefully.

* * *

Indeed, I took care of the various things I told the NOC could wait until Monday morning. Whee. But I keep hearing people talk about "log shipping", which worries me, since that's one of the things I worked on on Friday. On the other hand, it's fairly well-documented that I did so, so if there was a significant issue, I'd expect that they would have said something about it....

* * *

But soon I have to go to Millbrae, and then I have to go to the pharmacy to renew my prescription for happy pills, and then I have to write 500 words. Preferably, 500 good words, but one must not be too dogmatic on this point.

* * *

Well, I successfully Normed and got my prescription refilled and oogled the cute blonde at the pharmacy, but not so good on the writing. I really need to do something about this writing thing, but what I don't know. Maybe stop spazzing and think seriously about where Transmundane should go. Maybe plummet into a deep pit, splat.

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9 December 2001 - Sunday

Well, I didn't oversleep quite as much as yesterday, but I'm making up for it by being headachy and useless. :(

And unwriteful, or at least not usefully writeful. I still have no inspiration for Sidi, only minimal inspiration for HHH!, and no idea where Transmundane is going. :(

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8 December 2001 - Saturday

Oogk. Useless parasite. Extremely useless parasite.

I set my alarm for what seemed like a good but not excessive amount of insleeping, but neglected to tell it to actually go off at that time, so I was awakened by a telebeggar a little after 15:00. Meep. :(

Kit reminded me that I should probably put the sixteen thousand James Nicoll posts on my reading list. I did, after all, read them.

* * *

No writing. Not even anime-watching. I managed to do a little shopping after dinner, and implemented a feature Chris suggested, so that now when you go to the comments page, it leaps it to the start of the comments instead of making you scroll through the endless blather you already read again. Now it's nearly midnight, so I should probably try to go to bed and not die. Meep.

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7 December 2001 - Friday

Busy work day! Bruce fled to Vegas or someplace, leaving me to deal with the aftermath of the new frontend software release (to wit, everything being in new different places so anything that relied on the old places has to be fixed (but those things are themselves in new places so...)). However, I am not dead, and most of the time-critical stuff has been dealt with. I think.

I also finished the last few of the sixteen thousand James Nicoll posts inflicted upon me by Dave. Free! I'm FREE!

However, not only does he seem to be much like me only older and cooler and more scarred, but one of his posts had an idea remarkably similar to an idea I had, so now I'm wibbling over whether to send email to him about it. Probably I should just take up Usenet again and read the groups he posts to. And rec.arts.sf.written in any case, since many real writers (of varying quality and personal charm, admittedly) hang out there.


* * *

I am on the verge of just taking all LiveJournal references off my Web Habits page and pretending that LJ doesn't exist. It's just too aggravating to have to try loading a page 2d20 times before LJ can be bothered to actually send the bits. (Why LJ sucks so powerfully is not relevent to this; not my problem, webmonkey boy.)

* * *

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

* * *

Christy had a sudden need for waffles, and her Chrisber was trapped at work forever, so Rebecca and I accompanied her to a nearby IHOP and ate waffles, bacon, french toast, hashbrowns, and cheese sticks, in some combination. I seem to have lost my taste for bacon, which is probably for the best.

Once home, I tried to watch more Hyper Police, but the site is all lagged, and after installing the new frontend software, Bruce not only left the office, but talked me into taking his oncall, so it's my problem. Hmph.

But our clever engineers have fixed the problem, so all is well now!

* * *

Rebecca tried to talk me into running Exalted (as a supplement contributor, she has a vested interest in people playing it, after all), and I suppose I might, next year, when people have free time again. I'd have to come up with a suitably epic idea, though, and also a system. Maybe BESM2, suitably hacked.

Which reminds me that I could mail James Nicoll about the BESM2 house rules I wrote up that are much like something he once tried to do.


james nicoll! by kit! (Fri Dec 7 17:33:25 2001)

I think you ought to email James Nicoll. That's what I think!

livejournal? by gconnor (Sat Dec 8 02:48:52 2001)

Hmm, I have never had a problem with it loading quickly and reliably. But, that may be because I pay for the service and therefore I get to use the Fast servers.

Angie just recently went from free service to paid service, so I wonder if she has noticed timeouts before, or noticed it working better now.


From what I hear, free LJ biteth by Flit (Sat Dec 8 12:52:49 2001)

I don't have any problems myself (except when they're dicking around with new Linux thingie of the week), but I'm a paid user. So it either is up or down, not quasi-up as free users seem to get.

Livejournal service by Trip (Sat Dec 8 23:34:53 2001)

But I don't want to cough up money if I'm not going to keep a journal on LJ, which perhaps is just cheap of me. I just want the journals of the people who do to be accessible! Is that so much to ask?

Well, yes, obviously. Duh. :)

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6 December 2001 - Thursday

The results of Monday's phlebotomy: the three-monthish average of my blood sugar doesn't suck, and was in fact labelled "excellent" by Dr Hosseini. My LDL (evil wicked verminous cholesterol) is also nicely low. Sadly, my HDL (good heart-disease-averting cholesterol) is also low, and that's not so good. The recommended way to correct this is (big surprise) lose weight and exercise more. I should probably also do research to see what else I can do, but I am lazy and haven't yet.

* * *

Today's bad news is that hegemony hedgehog is moving back to Connecticut! :( There are no good jobs locally, her savings have run out, her feet can't take working retail, and even if they could she probably couldn't survive in the land of the dot-com boom just through honest labor. So she is moving back to stay with her mom until she can get on her feet in the less slippery environment back East. Sniff!

Blooood blooooooood! by Flit (Sat Dec 8 12:51:01 2001)

Do you have a sticker thingie for monitoring your blood sugar? My doctor suggested that I get one and apply it to myself to see if I'm low-blood-sugar during my sick times, and I was wondering if you had any recommendations. Given that I can't imagine being able to stick myself, and non-invasive monitors are either not for sale yet or outright frauds, I'm sort of wibbling on this idea.

As for cholesterol, my mom has bad cholesterol (which I believe means high bad and low good) and I'll ask her if she has any suggestions. I remember her mentioning that garbanzo beans are supposed to be good.

Autophlebotomy by Trip (Sat Dec 8 23:25:32 2001)

The one I have is the one Kaiser handed me when the doctor said "Give this man a fingerpoker", which is probably a disrecommendation in most people's eyes. But it seems to work, or at least it did when I used it last. However, the strip you're supposed to bleed on and the gunk for calibrating the meter when you use a new batch of strips are both perishable and, by now, long perished, so I can't just lend it to you.

I know Sherilyn has or had one, for her gestational diabetes; you might want to ask her what she has.

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5 December 2001 - Wednesday

This is Ayse's fault.

Take the What Cat Are You? test by webkin!

Although the test only has 57 = 78125 possible answer sets (as opposed to the more typical 220 = 1048576), the results seem less inaccurate than usual (based on a whole two data points).

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4 December 2001 - Tuesday

Well, I was going to watch Ceres tonight, but Rebecca went shopping instead of to aikido, and then got lost, and Marith and Harold were late (although not very late), so I just threw them out and watched the last tape of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. Not very nice, but parasitic.

Refraining from spoilers makes it hard to say much, alas. I did enjoy it, even though I am devoutly anti-religious (possibly because I didn't think too much about the theology). The sudden plot twist about 2/3 of the way through made me go "buh", which is always good.

If I were more diligent, I would try to find out if the allegedly historical bits are actually historical, but I already have too much to read.

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3 December 2001 - Monday

Pfooey. The lab didn't open until fifteen minutes before my appointment, so I couldn't get efficiently phlebotomized beforehand, and had to wait until after, which meant that I didn't get to work until 11. However, my blood pressure is 116 over 86, nothing I use frequently is falling off, and despite skipping breakfast for the cholesterol test, I am hardly dead at all. Yay me.

* * *

According to The Art Test...

If I was a work of art, I would be M. C. Escher's Lizards.

I am a bizarre juxtaposition of the real and the unreal. Based in the realm of mathematics, my two-dimensional appearance belies a complex and free-willed behaviour which both delights and confuses people.

Or I could be Mondrian's Composition A, but I think I prefer being a "bizarre juxtaposition of the real and unreal".

* * *

I strongly recommend James Alan Gardner's latest book, Ascending to anyone who has read his first book, Expendable, and maybe even to people who haven't. It has good use of Significant Capitals.

Heck, read all his books!

art by tamago (Mon Dec 3 17:16:38 2001)

Profane Geometry of Lizards!

art by Trip (Mon Dec 3 19:37:33 2001)

Have you been ogling the cheerlizards again?

art by tamago (Tue Dec 4 14:42:29 2001)

Who me? I never ogle. I may respectfully admire, but it's a tasteful sort of thing. Really!

art by Trip (Tue Dec 4 18:13:53 2001)

So, what does a cheerlizard taste like? And does Marith know about this?

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2 December 2001 - Sunday

I swear the weather was fine when I went outside! So of course I was soaked by the time I got to the grocery store. Hmph. Then it stopped raining so I couldn't reasonably try out the umbrella I bought on the way home. Double hmph.

To make up for doing absolutely nothing this morning, I went through the accumulated mail I've been ignoring for a month and dealt with it all: bills, magazine subscriptions, and charities. Now I have nine envelopes with checks to go out to people who promise to give me stuff and/or save the world.

But my tummy is all bleargy from licking nine envelope flaps. :(

envelope flaps by kit (Mon Dec 3 11:05:58 2001)

My weird roommate Shaun likes licking envelope flaps.

I think it's very funny when you use a tinyfont to say things like (a month). :)

envelope flaps by Trip (Mon Dec 3 19:40:05 2001)

Obviously you should have left Shaun here!

Actually, I have a twisted, Bizarro-esque image of Shaun with his face flush with the top of a desk and his tongue sticking out, like those automatic stamp-wetting widgets you see sometimes.

I'm glad my very small text amuses you; it would be terrible to use the <font> tag and not make anyone laugh!

envelope flaps by kit (Tue Dec 4 14:28:06 2001)

LAUGH I haven't seen Shaun playing at being a stamp-licking widget, but what an image. LAUGH!

envelopes flapping in the breeze by Ambar (Wed Dec 12 23:18:34 2001)

The last time I bought envelopes, I bought envelopes whose flaps are pre-stickified; all I have to do is peel the protective strip off.

Of course, if I stick an unclosed envelope in my backpack for some reason, friction inevitably succeeds in partially peeling it off for me, with undesirable results. Le sigh.

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