Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 January 2002 - Thursday

More Ranma ½ at work today. I am confused, because one of the episodes showed a bit from an episode we haven't seen yet as a flashback, and I thought the episode in the flashback was before Shampoo1 showed up. Perhaps the DVD makers have reordered the episodes, perhaps Greg is right that the producers reordered the episodes between planning and release, perhaps I'm just not a very bright parasite.

I have finished up a big wodge of writing, and now can devote my fingers to the other writing I haven't been doing. Like, er, Amber High School. And lettergame. Er.

I have a fiendish idea for lettergame, but have not yet implemented it. Soon, though! Muahahahahahaha!

But now I am off to Whisman Station Anime!

1: sigh... Shampoo... swoon...

* * *

Sorcerer Hunters: Still wacky, still full of cheescake. But at least we have gotten through the first four episodes, which Our Host has seen many times, and next week will be into new territory.

Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko: Still wacky, but definite bonus points for use of Hawking radiation.

Bubblegum Crisis: Wow. I had forgetten just how very 80s this show is. On the other hand, since I was a teenager in the 80s, it is perfectly okay for me to find on-stage-Priss highly ogleable2. Really.

Nazca: Surreal in a kind of Utenaesque way. Bonus points for use of the otherwise sadly neglected Incas, and for people seriously discussing whether the person who believes himself to be the reincarnation of an ancient Incan warrior is really insane or just temporarily out of it. Points off for ancient Incan warriors with metal swords, but it's understandable, since the show was made by and for the Japanese, to whom ancient warriorness is all about the steel sword.

2: I'm sure it is not coincidental that the two Ranma ½ characters I think are cutest both have purple eyeshadow3.

3: Ranma mysteriously gains purple eyeshadow when splashed with cold water, and loses it when splashed with hot. I had not realized this until I got to see the transformation on a big screen.

Ranma episode ordering by Trip (Sun Feb 3 16:21:44 2002)

I am (somewhat) reliably informed that this confusion is due to there having been two runs of Ranma ½ on TV. The first was only one season and did poorly, so was shortened by taking episodes out of the middle (so it could end with Shampoo having been introduced). Then they rethought it to appeal more to the target demographic and tried again, using the episodes they already had in the can from the first try but hadn't aired.

Or something like that.

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30 January 2002 - Wednesday

"The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred." (from today's Kevin & Kell "fortune cookie")

I might want this to be my .sig.

* * *

Ayse and Rebecca have ABCed my paperbackss with vigor and grace! In fact, they have also DEFGHIJKLMNOed them! Two weeks hence, Ayse and whatever assistants she has will almost certainly PQRSTUVWXYZ my paperbacks, and then we will have to find some other way to entertain her!

Also, we played Vegas, the one Cheapass game we hadn't played. I was losing dismally until Jim and Chrisber, with like seventeen cards between them, couldn't beat the king of hearts. I got the BIG pile of money, which brought me up to second place (a whopping 2/3 of Dave's victorious score).

Dave's a threat! by Flit! (Thu Jan 31 08:31:43 2002)

Well, he is!

Dave's a big threat! by Trip (Thu Jan 31 10:22:09 2002)

He is! He got several huge piles of money during the game, which he invested in getting most of the piles of money at the end.

I think he won Chez Dork at the last Wednesday Night Fun, too.

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29 January 2002 - Tuesday

Yay! Genista has a LiveJournal!

* * *

This is darn clever.

* * *

Still no flying car, still no ethernet to the brainstem, but maybe vat-grown replacement organs.

* * *

The Amazon package I have been trying to get delivered has finally arrived! Judging by the packing slip (Amazon boofed) it is a copy of Witches of Karres by James H Schmitz, from my fellow Schmitz fan Adam! Woot!

* * *

It is, indeed. Witches of Karres! In an extremely yellow edition! From the UK!

* * *

I watched the remaining impulse-bought DVD, Gokudan: Swordsman Extraordinaire. It's in the same genre as Slayers, although possibly even wackier. The title character is not as cute as Gourry, but should set off all those 'must bear love kittens of sociopathic antihero' impulses that women seem to have. And, just for Angie, it does have a butt-kicking female character!

chicks kick ass by Angie (Wed Jan 30 16:02:58 2002)

Woot! Is it a series I should try to see sometime? I've never heard of it before this, see.

Chicks Kick Ass! by Trip (Wed Jan 30 18:47:28 2002)

I'd never heard of it before I saw it in Lee's. It is only okay; I do not feel that I have irretrievably wasted two hours of my life seeing it, and probably will even buy subsequent disks if they come out, but I don't know that I'd recommend anyone else spending money on it. Not even highly economical people with loads of spare cash. :)

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28 January 2002 - Monday

I have only just barely succeeded in not rolling around on the floor of my cube while giggling insanely. If this sounds like an experience you would like to share, quickly go read cassieclaire's "Secret Diary of ___" series. (Start with "The Secret Diary of Aragorn" and then use the "next day" link as required to see all the others. It really is better if you read them in order.)

* * *

This afternoon I received my first-ever spam on my NexTel. I continue to maintain that phones are evil, because at least email spam waits patiently for me to get around to deleting it, instead of annoying me with godawful noises.

Imminent collapse of civilization predicted. Stone tablets at 11.

* * *

Watched most recent new Buffy. Not as good as last two Angels, but okay.

Using sentences with no subjects. Feel like someone whose Secret Diary might appear at http://cassieclaire.livejournal.com/.

Stupid parasite.

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27 January 2002 - Sunday

Did I do anything today? I grocery shopped (twice) and ate (twice) and did a tiny little bit of writing, and watched the two most recent episodes of Angel. As advertised (by Ayse), they were pretty good! Cordelia, yay! But the Flaming Green Karaoke Demon Psychic is not being as cool as when he was a less regular character. Perhaps he can redeem himself by ceasing to let Angel push him around with putting out.

* * *

Laura posted a very fine essay on FotR. I may have to start1 reading news just so I can read more by this Graydon person.

1: Restart, technically, but there's no guarantee that the Usenet I return to will be anything like the one I left most of a decade ago. (Except flamage. Flamage is eternal.)

Graydon! by Ayse (Tue Jan 29 09:46:58 2002)

Graydon is really exceptionally cool, and definitely one of the reasons I read news.

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26 January 2002 - Saturday

I lay sluggishly abed this morning until it was time to get up and run over to Christy's to eat WAFFLES!

On the way in, I encountered costumed people heading off to some FLtD event; they looked quite spiffy, but I am still not tempted, not even by Angie's coat that buttons tight across her middle but not above or below that.

Then Marith arrived, so we1 ate WAFFLES! Christy warned us that it was an experimental new recipe, but it was an extremely successful experiment, and every bit of the waffle batter was thoroughly appreciated (as were the turkey sausage and Jim-contributed bacon2).

After stuffing ourselves, we rolled into the other room (through the hole Christy and Chrisber had conveniently had sawn in the wall) and watched an episode of Iron Chef: "Battle Blue Crab", in which a woman who had learned royal Thai cuisine directly from Princess Sita of Thailand went up against Iron Chef Italian. She didn't win, but it was pretty clear she was there not to demonstrate her superior cooking fu but to spread the word of Thai food to Japan. And hey, she would have converted me!

Then we watched strange Indian music videos, and gossiped about our friends, and (after Jim left) went with Christy to feed her friend Harriet's cats, and played Lord of the Fries. Marith crushed us like the insects we are.

Eventually the lolling around reached a sensible limit, and we began trying to get hold of Chrisber, Ayse, et al for dinner. But they had no cell phones! And no one whose cell phone number we had was there with an active phone! And the number for the house they were allegedly geeking at returned a "disconnected or no longer in service" message! So finally we gave up and went our separate ways.

1: Christy, Marith, Jim, and myself.

2: Okay, I didn't appreciate the bacon, because apparently it's not just greasy-spoon-diner bacon I've gone off, but I can't really complain about finding huge lumps of animal fat repulsive.

* * *

Now I am home, catching up on my webpage and putting up a page for the lettergame with Christy! And it is getting late, so I don't know that I will accomplish much more tonight. But I do not feel that a day with waffles and Iron Chef and Christy-socialization has been wasted!

* * *

Christy posted in her LiveJournal that she wasn't going to call me at 23:30 to see if I had actually written anything, so I called her (but got the answering machine; she was over at the Kruger-Murdoch's being part of the FLtD Widows Support Group) to confess I hadn't. Then I did write some anyway.

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25 January 2002 - Friday

Last night I had strange vaguely-D&D-like dreams involving, well, dungeons and dragons and whatnot. The only part I distinctly remember is avoiding being torched by the red dragon through fast-talk and dodging until I could get us outside where I could remotely launch the missiles I had set up earlier. Disappointingly, although the missiles had no trouble hitting the dragon in the head, making it look like it had been bombarded by artillery and rattling its brains some, they didn't do any permanent damage. Even the one that went down its throat didn't do it in!

Damn wimp-ass chemical-explosive shaped charges! Next time, I use the nuke-pumped x-ray lasers!

* * *

I enjoyed tonight's Knights of Atlantis session while it lasted, but I don't think it was very successful in other ways. Apparently we did not either assault the sorcerers we had arranged a meeting with or show enough weakness for them to assault us, so the planned fight did not break out. Probably this is because everyone had had a hard week (Marith didn't even feel up to attending) and lacked focus in a big way. The session finally dissolved in confusion and dismay and everyone went home to sleep.

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24 January 2002 - Thursday

Today was the day of All The Anime. At work, we got bumped from the conference center with the nice projection TV screen, but did not let that deter us from watching another three episodes of Ranma ½ 1. Only two more weeks and we will have used up all the fun in this set of DVDs!

After work, I went over to Ayse's to get a ride to Raymond's, where we watched Strange Anime. First up was Sorcerer Hunters, wacky but relatively straight-forward fantasy with scantily-clad chicks2. Then we moved on to Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko, which is about high-school girls lured a thousand years into the future to pilot spaceships in the race/battle contests that have replaced real war as a means of allocating economic resources.

To continue the escalating lunacy, we finished off the evening with Wildcardz (original title Ja Ja Uma Quartette), a 2-episode OAV set with cute girls, card-based superpowers, gigantic duelling transforming chess pieces, offensive foreign stereotyping, and not much in the way of coherence. Speculations on the origin of this show ranged from "They needed money fast, so they took some random stuff the animators had drawn and told the voice actresses to free-associate as they watched it" to "Where can I get some of what they were on?".

1: Extra-confusing for those who had missed the first nine episodes!

2: But modestly dressed compared to the manga version. I kid you not.

* * *

None of this, needless to say, was anything at all like writing.

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23 January 2002 - Wednesday

Yay! After being lost in the bowels of Amazon/UPS for weeks, Kit's Christmas present finally arrived! Yay! Kit knows I still love her!

* * *

I felt quite unmotivated and bleargy today (though I did at least do a turn in the lettergame) and became quite sullen and grouchy in the afternoon. Leaving work and looking at something other than a monitor cheered me up some, though, and now that I am back from getting comics, I feel almost parasitic again. Perhaps I will successfully accomplish something tonight. Or perhaps I will just read my new comics.

trip still loves me! by kit (Thu Jan 24 09:18:11 2002)

beam Trip still loves me! I'm so lucky! AND I have a new book! beam

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22 January 2002 - Tuesday

BUH.

Okay, being on rpg.net isn't actually being famous, but it's kind of similar!

* * *

Today's "productivity" (not counting my job): another chunk of the stuff for Ayse, most of a lettergame letter to Christy, and almost all of the levelling-up for my AQoJ character. I just need to pick a feat and a 3d level spell, and I'm set.

Pick fireball! Pick fireball! by Lynx (Wed Jan 23 09:47:32 2002)

Don't you want to re-enact the jokes about 'how big was that fireball spell and how big is this room exactly'? ('gryn)

Fireball by Trip (Wed Jan 23 10:57:14 2002)

Nah. It's generally way too clear that dungeons don't have many spaces 30' on a side.

Anyway, everyone gets fireball. For good reasons, admittedly, but still. Anyway, as a Force of Justice, we want to kill as few people as we can manage.

(Which sort of suggests lightning bolt, which only kills one person at a time, I guess.)

Spoilsport! by Lynx (Wed Jan 23 20:50:50 2002)

Still, you can always have fun with the types who say 'If I'm lying, may my alignment/class/race god strike me down right now!' ... KAPOW!

Spells by Carl (Fri Jan 25 00:37:42 2002)

If you take Fireball or Lightning Bolt Sherilyn will just put in more monsters. How about Dispel Magic? No Enchantment, so alas, no Hold Person or Suggestion. Invisibility Sphere! Vampiric Kiss! Clairvoyeurism! Protection from Elements: very versatile, it's like 5 spells in one, darn handy for a Sorceress with limited spell selection. Plus then you can Protect yourself from fire when you cast your ground-zero Fireballs. Sophia's got great saves, she won't mind.

Leomund's Tiny Hut. Comfy! Call it "Amaryllis' Love Shack" instead.

Fly will just get you into trouble by letting you get too far away from the party. Haste rules, but especially if you can then cast 2 Lightning Bolts a round. Plus you can ALWAYS sell Haste potions or scrolls. Take Craft Wand, crank out a Haste Wand, and retire in luxury!

Plus, think of all the "Amarylis is sure fast" jokes to be made. Well, no, I guess there's just that one.

Re: Spells by Trip (Fri Jan 25 10:29:00 2002)

But with fireball/lightning bolt, she can kill those extra monsters, so we get even more exp!

It's not so much 'no Enchantment' as 'call up arcane energies to zot things'. Leomund's tiny hut, being a forcefield sort of thing, would be within her special effect, but it's kind of lame to have as one's only 3d level spell.

She already has endure elements, so protection from elements is certainly an appropriate spell, but see above about getting only one 3d level spell.

Last adventure, she had a fly scroll, which was great! I'm not sure it was hugely tactically useful, but it beat having to slog through the entangle with her measly 20' speed.

Now that you've made the "make Amaryllis fast" joke, haste is unnecessary! Well, actually, I think it just doesn't fit her special effect, but getting an item of haste would be an exceedingly clever idea!

Re: Spoilsport! by Trip (Fri Jan 25 10:31:53 2002)

I think arcane missile and Melf's acid arrow handle that pretty well already. The latter does 6d4 damage, which is almost like 6d6!

Fly! by Silkie (Fri Jan 25 10:34:30 2002)

You didn't need Fireball or Lightning Bolt to crush the last two CR 7 critters you fought. If Fly sounds more fun, get Fly. I'm sure it'll come in handy sometime. :)

Take Fly! by Carl (Fri Jan 25 21:02:31 2002)

It's always best to listen to the DM. Otherwise you'll find yourself plummeting off a cliff at some point with Sherilyn chortling "Use Fireball to get yourself out of THIS, monkeygirl!"

Well OK, I don't know if Sherilyn chortles.

I hope Amaryllis isn't fond of skirts, tho.

The Wisdom of Flight by Trip (Sat Jan 26 20:51:09 2002)

Yah, that's pretty much what I was thinking.

Sherilyn hasn't been heard to chortle, but she did cackle evilly when the villains set the prisoner shack on fire, so it could happen!

I think Amaryllis is sensible enough to not wear skirts while adventuring. Well, riding habit/hakama things, maybe. But probably leather trousers. She may be a floozie, but she's not an exhibitionist!

Cackling Evilly by Silkie (Sat Jan 26 23:01:50 2002)

I did not! Maybe a supressed gleeful giggle?

Re: Cackling Evilly by Trip (Sun Jan 27 16:42:25 2002)

That was a definite evil cackle! If you don't believe me, ask the other players!

Re: Cackling Evilly by Carl (Sun Jan 27 18:37:52 2002)

It's very hard to imagine Sherilyn doing anything evil. It is not at all hard to imagine Sherilyn giggling. In fact, it's fairly hard to imagine Sherily NOT giggling!

Still, giggling while setting a building full of dreamy-eyed NPCs on fire seems at least a bit evil, it's true.

You should add code to your webpage so you can do surveys, so those reading your journal can vote on important matters such as Cackle vs. Giggle and what spell Amaryllis should take, and whether Sophia is in fact her horse's sidekick.

Re:Cackling Evilly by Silkie (Sun Jan 27 22:11:01 2002)

I didn't set fire to a building full of dreamy-eyed NPCs! The bandits did it!

Surveys by Trip (Mon Jan 28 11:43:12 2002)

I think the comments feature works well enough for surveys. I've certainly gotten enough feedback on what spell Amaryllis should take!

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21 January 2002 - Monday

Yay! No more oncall! Although apparently I am 50% of Ops today, since Bruce is still on vacation, Angie is out sick, and Carlos is not here for some reason that's not clear to me. Sick or burning PTO hours, I guess.

In addition to singlehandedly keeping AV running until Greg made it in, I have done preliminary work on an upcoming project1, and finished Saturday's entry and caught up through today. I feel like a reasonably valuable parasite, despite having not slept worth beans last night.

Which is good, because I have to split at 14:25 to begin my public-transit odyssey to Millbrae, leaving Greg all alone.

1: My connection to idiom died, so I couldn't flick!

* * *

I still have large amounts of writing to do, meep. Writing I promised Ayse, reviews of The Complete Paratime, Sorcerer & Sword, and Jewel BEM Hunter Lime... I should work on both HHH! and Transmundane... meep. Well, at least I know what I'll be doing for the next few evenings!

* * *

Things actually accomplished today: the first chunk of writing for Ayse. And I did a little bit of work on D&D stuff.

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20 January 2002 - Sunday

We zoomed home quickly and without incident (and without rain to make me clutch at the Jesus Handle and whimper pathetically), even on the Fluorescent Frog Freeway. One of the randomly selected (admittedly, from a limited pool) CDs was an Melissa Etheridge one, the first song of which ("Similar Features", I think) made me want to buy it, but the later songs of which made me dubious. So I dunno if I want to buy it, but I do at least want to know the album title.

* * *

Blargh. Extremely useless parasite. I didn't get up until 14:30, and then only because I got oncalled and had to go fire up the computer anyway.

Once up, I did manage to get some kinetic food (I er failed to eat dinner yesterday, despite having forcibly paid for half of it) and some potential food (yay Trader Joe's!), write a letter for the lettergame to Christy, and write about half of yesterday's entry. Oh, and catch up on my web browsing for the weekend.

I don't feel like I've actually had a weekend at all, but I have to go to work tomorrow anyway! Unfair!

* * *

No reviews for today either.

* * *

But I cannot let pass without comment Sherilyn's assertion that she had fun running AQoJ yesterday! Hah hah!

Lack of weekend by Silkie (Mon Jan 21 14:20:42 2002)

Wah! Lack of weekend - Bad!

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19 January 2002 - Saturday

Amazon Quintet of Justice, episode II: "After the Bandits! We Must Rescue... CONRAD?!?!?"

Our Heroines' dwarven contact (and employer for the last job) decided he wanted to go to the university in the capital to some research. Reasoning that leaving town wouldn't make Hrogarth less of a target for the Forces of Evil1, the Amazon Quintet offered to escort him there. (They wanted to check into the lich situation anyway.)

There had been increases in prices and mutterings about bandits in the lowlands, so the trip was conducted with due caution, but nothing happened while the road meandered through several small villages of the same sort as Quietdale2.

Then, just a couple of days from the first real city, Tigris, while camping between towns3, Evil struck! A little while after dark, three bandits covered by a silence spell pounced on Solara, who had wandered off to skulk in the woods. At those odds, she started getting beat up pretty bad, but Amaryllis noticed the bushes rustling, checked to see that the only male for miles around (Hrogarth) was still asleep by the fire, and raised the alarm.

Three more bandits then leapt out at Amaryllis and stuck her with swords, ruining her clothes!

These guys were darn tough for bandits, but once the Amazon Quintet regrouped so they weren't being picked off individually at bad odds, they triumphed fairly quickly. It's unclear whether Hrogarth helped overall by flailing at the bandits with his satchel of books and breaking the sanctuary spell Fresa put on him, but the bludgeoning he did let us take one of the bandits alive without having to waste expensive potions on him. In fact, only one bandit didn't survive to get a fair trial.

Interrogation didn't go all that well, despite one of the bandits being turned over to Amaryllis and Solara so he could emit terrified shrieks from behind the bushes while Sophia discoursed sadly on how she just couldn't keep them from using up prisoners. They did admit to having friends who would be mad at them if they sold out4, but that was about it. So they got tied up, guarded carefully, and in the morning marched to Tigris to be handed over to lawful authority (along with all the recaptured loot from the camp Solara and Alyssa found by backtracking them).

This made the AQoJ local heroes, since no one else locally had been able to do anything about the bandits. The guard couldn't track them down, Q caravans got either ignored or crushed with overwhelming and well-informed force, merchants were losing valuable goods at a distressing rate, it was bad all around. Since Sophia lives solely to fix bad situations, action had to be taken! Fortunately, Hrogarth had been sucked into the local extension of the Great University, so the Quintet had some free time.

(One other adventuring party had tried to clean out the bandits but had last been seen heading off to raise money to ransom one of their number who'd been captured, said prisoner being described as a dark-haired, dreamy-eyed youth named Con-something. Amaryllis and Solara quickly agreed with Sophia that the bandits needed dealing with.)

As celebrities, the Quintet couldn't just announce they were saddling up to go clear out the bandits; the informers in the watch and the merchant's guild would have the word out in less than no time. So, after getting one of Amaryllis's sorcerous acquaintances to shapeshift to imitate one or another of them at scattered times and places within the city5, they snuck out of town and set off on the trail of the bandits.

They couldn't find any useful tracks from the camp of the bandits who attacked them, but Alyssa called a hawk to do some scouting and it reported finding two areas that didn't have much in the way of rabbits and deer. One of them also had owlbears, but the other didn't, so the Quintet pegged it as a likely bandit hideout and headed for it.

Of course the owlbears attacked along the way, but they were dispatched fairly quickly, and their lair located. The four appallingly cute cubs were determined to be not innately evil, so they were caged up with a good supply of food and water and left to be picked up on the way back.

The bandit camp was pretty much where expected, and not unlike what had been expected (rude wooden buildings, tents, a cave), but had one fairly sturdy building that contained about a dozen young, attractive humans. Since the adventurer guy was the only one who had been known to have been taken prisoner, this was an unexpected complication.

Plans were laid, modified, discarded, and revived, but finally it was agreed that kidnapping and interrogating the lone sentry was the first step to any plan. Alyssa laid a false owlbear trail to throw off suspicion while Solara and Sophia, covered by the silence wand, mugged the sentry. This would have failed miserably and brought the whole camp down on them had not the prisoners seen them and made enough commotion to cover the sentry's yells until they could finally blackjack him into submission.

There was no pursuit, so Amaryllis and Fresa didn't get to ambush anyone at the end of the owlbear trail, but that was within the parameters of the protoplan. The sentry, being not entirely Evil, succumbed to moral suasion and bribery and described the bandit's MO and the inside of the cave and so forth, but didn't know what the prisoners were for.

Our Heroines flailed around in the set of all possible plans for a while longer before deciding that the corridor that led off from the inhabited parts of the cave must lead to a secret escape route for the bandit leader. Thus, they planned to cover the entire exterior part of the camp with an entangle spell, use a flaming sphere to burn a path to the cave, and then collapse the entrance as soon as they got in to prevent being pincered. After cleaning out the higher-ups in the cave, they would go out the back door and come around the hill to clean up the riff-raff. Since the taking of hostages was a concern, Amaryllis would send an air elemental into the building where they were kept to mug any inside guard, and then she would fly up invisibly and pass the prisoners the Quintet's spare weapons.

The plan was actually dead well before contact with the enemy, but its hair and claws kept growing so it had the appearance of viability until the Amaryllis got to the prison shack and the air elemental said, "No armed guys in here, boss". And there was a funny oily smell...

Alyssa entangled the camp, but one of the guards by the cave escaped the plants long enough to shoot a fire arrow into the prison shack, which went up like a wooden building soaked in lamp oil. Sophia and her horse6 ran around to help deal with that and ended up fighting off the two bandits who were waiting to ambush anyone who tried to rescue the prisoners (there were still a few inside, tied up), leaving Amaryllis and the elemental free to work on prying a board out of the hut7. Meanwhile, the rest of the team fought their way along the path, through those of the bandits who had managed to break free of the entangle long enough to get in their way.

All this took much longer than it should have, but eventually Amaryllis killed the bandits at the hut, Sophia and her horse broke down the wall of the prison so the hostages could escape, and the rest arrived at the cave entrance. Things may or may not have been helped overall by the cloud of obscuring mist Alyssa conjured to cover the battlefield.

At the cave entrance, one of the mid-rank bandits tried to get Fresa to back off by showing a cute teenage boy and a knife, and demonstrating he wasn't afraid to use them, but she put the bandit to flight with a command, patched the kid up, and sent him off to join the other escapees. There was also an embarrassing moment when Alyssa's jump potion sent her flying over Fresa's head and into her own entangle, but the fog covered that up nicely, and she was able to conjure a flame blade and get free to join the fight.

Inside the cave was a rat bastard with a bastard sword, three of his goons, and a bunch of hostages. The bandits were shouting something about "Sacrifice them now!" "No, the stars are wrong!", so Sophia engaged the leader in open combat while Solara ran around behind and removed his kidneys. Amaryllis shot the bow out of the hand of the goon pointing it at a hostage, and he fled down the corridor. She and Solara followed him, as did Sophia shortly, and Alyssa and Fresa after they cleaned up the other goons and sent the prisoners out with the others.

It's a good thing things didn't go as planned, because the corridor did not lead to a secret escape route! It led to a small room with a pool of evil liquid and a big scary snake-woman-thing with a big scary sword. The bandit fled babbling behind his "Mistress" and battle was joined!

As usual, Solara worked her way around behind the foe (offing the goon in the process) while Sophia engaged from the front and Amaryllis flung rabid elementals and arcane missiles from afar. Alyssa and Fresa joined the battle line, so there was someone to take up slack when Sophia had to fall back. Fortunately, the snake-monster was completely unable to actually bite anyone, so we didn't find out how nasty its venom was, and although it was resistant to magic, some spells did get through. Holy water also got tossed into the pool, which made it hiss angrily but didn't seem to kill it.

Badly mangled, the snake-monster tried to dive into the pool, but body-slamming the fire elemental burned it enough that it slumped, unconscious, across the rim of the pool... which began sucking it in!

Sure that nothing good could come of this, the Quintet (plus elementals) dragged the corpse back out, with some difficulty, and shoved it into a corner far away from the pool. Amaryllis tried to use shocking grasp on the pool, even though it reached up to grab for her8, which resulted in her taking the maximum shocking grasp damage, but not in her being sucked into hell to be the pool's sex toy for the rest of eternity.

Leaving the pool to be fixed later, Our Heroines collected the treasure, freed prisoners (including a handsome, dark-haired, dreamy-eyed git named Conrad), and captured bandits, and went back to the city (stopping to collect the owlbear cubs along the way).

1: Well, someone didn't want him to get the Ancient Dwarven Research Materials!

2: For some reason, bandits don't find robbing poor hicks as rewarding as robbing rich city folk.

3: An ancient dwarf plus a rickety cart doesn't make for speedy travel.

4: Duh. Like the Quintet would have believed that a band of random muggers was carrying around eighteen potions and two wands.

5: But only doing disreputable things when disguised as Solara.

6: Or possibly, "the horse and Sophia".

7: Because the door was a) on fire, and b) entangled.

8: Why yes, she does hang out with Solara a lot. Why do you ask?

* * *

By this time it was midnight, so we broke there and fled homeward zoom zoom.

AQoJ Episode 2! by Silkie (Sun Jan 20 23:31:49 2002)

Eek! Don't leave me in suspense! What happens next? :)

Yay! Quintet!! by liralen (Mon Jan 21 09:22:10 2002)

How very cool! Yay! I wanna know what happens next! Goooo... Trip!

Writeup done! by Trip (Mon Jan 21 12:40:02 2002)

Pending corrections from other players or GM, of course.

Five Fingers of Justice serve up a knuckle sandwich to Evil! by Carl (Mon Jan 21 19:57:57 2002)

Excellent writeup nicely portrays the tension and excitement of what sounds like a most excellent game!

Will the Owlbears become mascots? Will Conrad?

Whonk! by Trip (Mon Jan 21 20:12:11 2002)

That's because Silkie is a most excellent GM! Do not listen if she tries to tell you otherwise!

Conrad was not sufficiently more cute than he was obnoxious, so we sent him back to his family and got money which we can use to better seek Connor. The owlbears will probably be sold to druids, which might get us less money but will make sure they aren't abused.

Unless Solara keeps one, I guess.

Ooooo Cute! by Carl (Tue Jan 22 17:42:26 2002)

Innocent Baby Owlbear; Small Beast (Cute); CR 1; HD 1d10+1; hp 6; Init +3 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +3 natural); Atk 2 claws -1 melee (1d3-1), bite -6 melee (1d4-1); Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft. SA Improved grab; SQ Scent; AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 9, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 10. Skills: Listen +6, Spot +6

Sadly they're beasts instead of animals so Druid Animal Friendship wouldn't work on them (nor Awaken), but perhaps Silkie has a soft heart and would stretch the point.

Of course, it'll only lead to trouble when they grow up and eat Sophia's horse.

Owlbear Errata by Carl (Fri Apr 5 02:52:06 2002)

Sadly, the Monster Manual Errata changed all Beasts to be Int 2, so the owlbear cubs are a lot dumber than I listed them as.

Draw your own conclusions about Conrad.

Make a comment!

18 January 2002 - Friday

Like Kit, I have nothing to say today. I closed a bunch of slips at work, and got the spiffy report of all the slips I've closed over the past 90 days ("The Devil's Quarter": 666 slips for the whole group). I printed out my character sheet for tomorrow's AQoJ game, and tried to make a spiffy HTML character sheet but foundered on the rock of all <th> tags needing explicit "align=left" or "align=right" parameters. Perhaps someday I will make a script to do this, starting from a vaguely well-defined text format.

Now I stare blankly at a request involving JSP and Apache and rabid ferrets down my pants, or something. Possibly the huge bag of cherries I ate in place of lunch is responsible for the shrinkage of my brain.

I have tried to write to Tamago for the lettergame but not gotten all that far; I keep thinking that what I've written isn't sufficiently epistolary. Obviously I should just suck my own brain out and write it anyway1.

Later, we Roseville-goers will feed upon Thai and then, well, go to Roseville.

I seem to be writing a lot for someone with nothing to say.

1: "To be a writer, you must write."

* * *

Excitement of a particularly inactive sort ensued when Marith said she was logging out to come pick us up and then didn't show up at all ever. Finally we concluded she was dead and went to Thai City on our own, which made her show up within a few minutes.

Then, zoomzoomzoom! Tud.

Make a comment!

17 January 2002 - Thursday

Sadly, we had to do a code-only push of the frontend software, so during anime I was interrupted about half a dozen times by engineers wanting me to mess with content. For the code-only push. Fortunately I have seen this anime already, and have my own copy at home, so it is okay.

But one of the engineers (not involved with this release) gave me a yummy orange, which saved me from most of the strange Japanese candy1 my boss brought in.

1: What is the market demographic for "Men's Pocky", anyway?

* * *

I appear to be playing a letter game with Christy. I don't know why none of my recent fortune cookies has said, "Expect unexpected opportunities for creativity". Perhaps I shall send a Strongly Worded Letter to the manufacturer.

* * *

Okay, time to do at least one review! Tonight, The Dying Earth Role-Playing Game, by Robin D Laws, John Snead, and Peter Freeman!

As should be obvious to anyone with any knowledge of the literature whatsoever1, this game is based on Jack Vance's books The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga, and Rhialto the Marvellous, which take place in the setting of Earth's last days, when the sun is red and faded and everyone knows it might go out permanently at any moment. The age of the world in which people used technology is long past, as is any age in which people bothered to attempt anything new; it's all been done, and you could probably dig it up somewhere, if some ancient magic or semi-sapient monster wasn't likely to do you in while you're trying. You're better off carpe diem and hey, if someone else's day isn't nailed down, seize it too!

The designers have gone to some trouble to carry over the tone of the original works to the game, and fairly successfully. Just as Feng Shui gives all PCs huge combat skill to support its genre conventions, DERPG makes no bones about Persuade and Rebuff2 being the primary skills. Attack and Defend get some of the same bonus mechanics, because they are also paired skills which fit together in the same way, but are of distinctly secondary importance in the game.

Three power levels are written up in the game: random riff-raff, powerful magicians (who are also riff-raff), and archmagi of semi-infinite might (who you better not call riff-raff). Even at the higher levels, though, players should expect their characters to suffer frequent reverses, and specifically to fail to resist opportunities to indulge in Arrogance, Avarice, Indolence, Gourmandism, Pettifoggery, or Rakishness3. In the 21st Aeon, the notion that anyone is control of his own fate is laughable.

The rulebook is not so much sprinkled as splattered with quotes from the source material and examples and flavor text in pretty good imitation-Vance style, which supply any atmosphere that might not have soaked in from the main text. Many of these can be used as "tag lines," quotes that you are given by the GM at the beginning of the session and can convert to Improvement Points4 by using at appropriate moments. (You do get bonus points for making your fellow players snort soda out their noses.)

I have touched on only a fraction of the atmosphere-engendering qualities of DERPG, but hopefully you get the idea. However, a role-playing game must be judged not only as a work of art, but as a work of engineering: can you use it for its intended purpose?

In the case of DERPG, the answer is a firm "Probably". The mechanics are not overly complex and seem, by examination, workable5, and no one who reads the rulebook and appreciates it can fail to grasp the intended tone and style, but the fatalism of the setting and mechanics lead me to wonder whether this game is really suited for a campaign. Also, although Vancian dialogue is not required, many gamers are sufficiently glibless in person to make the large amout of played-out negotiation and swindling somewhat offputting. Also, the failure of Vance to provide much in the way of description for much of his world and its inhabitants can put a large load on the GM, but it is not recommended that one try to run this game without a high rating in Improvise RPG in any case.

In sum, I recommend DERPG to any gamer who is also a Vance fan, and think gamers of other subspecies might find it interesting. I do not feel that I have wasted my money on it.

The Dying Earth RPG is available from Pelgrane Press, who also produce a periodical collection of adventure seeds, ideas, rants, and whatnot for DERPG called The Excellent Prismatic Spray.

1: ObReviewerSuperiority. I'm done now.

2: "Resist Persuasion," if it wasn't obvious.

3: Lust. Yum.

4: Provided explicitly as a sop to the traditional-RPG-mentality of the players; characters in the source material don't seem to improve much once all their schticks have been revealed.

5: Plus, Robin Laws is a god among game designers.

* * *

Oof, that was more reviewing than I had expected. And possibly not as favorable, wum. Anyway, now I should try to do a turn of the letter game. Or maybe fall over in a slimy parasitic heap.

Esteemed Reviewer's excellent summary alas omits an item of inestimable worth by Carl (Fri Jan 18 19:57:40 2002)

While your review of Dying Earth is in all ways admirable I fear you have left out the tiniest of items which nonetheless should be brought to the attention of its potential audience, that being The Everarching Rule of Efficacious Blandishment, which I now quote for the purposes of review:

"The overarching rule of efficacious blandishment is the most important rule in the game. * The overarching rule of efficacious blandishment states that a character who tries to do something outside the letter of the game's other rules may do so, provided that the player convinces the GM that this action falls within the spirit of the story. Thus the only true circumscriptions on your actions are maintained by the twin poles of your persuasiveness and your GM's gullibility. * When arguing the merits of the Dying Earth roleplaying game in person or on the Internet, respond to individuals who complain about certain rules with the standard reply "Your argument is flawed. The overarching rule of efficacious blandishment lets you disregard the rule about which you complain so bitterly." * Experienced roleplaying gamers may claim that the overarching rule of efficacious blandishment is scarcely original to the Dying Earth game. In fact, they might argue, in all roleplaying games players and GMs may mutually agree to disregard rules to better suit a given situaion. * However, gamers so often forget this that we feel secure in claiming it as our own sterling innovation." -- Dying Earth RPG p26, Robin Laws et al.

A tragic omission by Trip (Sun Jan 20 16:30:58 2002)

I must agree that the Overarching Rule of Efficacious Blandishment is not to be omitted from consideration! However, it does not appear to this reviewer that the aforementioned rule modifies or ameliorates the conclusions reached above: any doubts expressed stem from less tangible yet more integral qualities of the work than simple rules. Nevertheless, the existance of this particular rule undoubtedly confirms my stated assessment of Mr Laws' abilities.

Make a comment!

16 January 2002 - Wednesday

Now Gretchen has a reading list! There is no escape! Submit now and it will go easier on you!

Hm. I think I like her notation better than mine.

* * *

I seem to have fallen out of the habit of making everything that could be a hyperlink into one. Probably this is because I'm just plain lazy, although I like to think it's because I know my readers have enough sense to a) look in the links to the right, and b) do a websearch. Presuming they don't already have the relevent URLs memorized, that is.

Is this wrong of me? Should I instead have leapt over the potential barrier and made something to ease the linking process1? I'm not sure what such a thing would be, mind you, but it could probably be done.

1: Just like I should make something to ease footnoting. Perhaps I should give up on the whole typing-raw-HTML fetish and just feed plain text through a hideous translation apparatus that transforms certain things that only I would ever think to type into spiffy HTML.

* * *

Fun! We had FUN! In particular, Ayse had fun ABCing my previously-CBQed hardcover books, while Dave and Jim and I had fun playing Fluxx. Eventually we gave up on Rebecca and started considering real games, and which point she arrived and we played Chez Dork. Chez Dork is about 2958369252 times more like the geeks we know than Chez Geek, possibly because we are post-college, non-smoking, West-Coast geeks. Dave won. Ayse finished ABCing my books.

Through my renewed determination to be more ruthless about keeping books, and Ayse's ability to ask about the books I care least about, I have almost an entire shelf-full (out of twelve) of hardcovers to dispose of! I expect I can prune the paperbacks even more rigorously!

Then everyone went home, without having mocked my apartment much at all!

html laziness by keet (Wed Jan 16 16:40:03 2002)

The -1 size font is muchmuchMUCH easier to read. beam

Either I'm as lazy as you are, or we're both right in assuming that at least as often as not, our readers know how to do a websearch. I tend to link in things that I know the URL to (say, peter wingfield pages) and if I don't and it's not something I'm actively pursuing at the moment, I figure people can look it up their own damned selves. :)

As for the footnotes, well. That's up to you. I have no pithy suggestions. I do like them, though!

I like Gretchen's notations, too. I was forced to alter mine somewhat. :)

My quest for world domination -- oh, and booklists by Flit (Thu Jan 17 09:22:34 2002)

Your notation is more concise than mine. Plus, I don't read magazines!

Books! by Flit (Thu Jan 17 09:23:23 2002)

You should list the unwanted books for all to see, and perhaps some people would want to divest you of them!

The Big Book of World Domination by Trip (Thu Jan 17 09:56:42 2002)

My notation is more concise, but apparently confuses many people, since '+B' looks like a grade, and anyway, a three-letter code for 'magazine' probably isn't hard to devise. I was specifically thinking of the = for 'you will like this if you are the same kind of freak as me', though.

I should list the unwanted books! Most of them are ones I wouldn't recommend, but if I knowingly read bad books, I can't deny that right to others.

Perhaps I will do that tonight.

ABC! by keet (Thu Jan 17 10:39:56 2002)

Hooray for ABCing books! I love ABCing books. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. Yaaaaay! And yaaaay pruning books! Woot woot!

Make a comment!

15 January 2002 - Tuesday

I unequivocally, as a matter of fact and not opinion, have Too Much Stuff.

Even with the three new bookcases, I don't have enough room for everything that wants to live on a bookshelf, never mind the random grot that has to go somewhere. I think I need to do a spring cleaning in which I take all the books and comics I am sure I will never reread or recommend to anyone else and return them to the marketplace. But that would be a lot of work.

So anyway, if you visit me anytime recently or soon, I grovel apologetically for the state of my parasitelair1.

1: Or for the lack of alien vermin to leap out of the cruft and devour your feet. One or the other.

* * *

This afternoon I formed the plan to write short reviews of books I read or movies/videos I watch, but this evening I seem to be shovelling clutter around, so writing will have to wait for er some other day.

Planned reviews: Dying Earth RPG (Robin Laws et al), The Complete Paratime (H Beam Piper), Sorcerer & Sword (Ron Edwards), Jewel BEM Hunter Lime. Flee while you still can.

bookselling by Angie (Wed Jan 16 09:00:40 2002)

I've got this massive pile of books that I've determined the same thing about, that I don't want or won't recommend or whatever, but I have yet to get them to BookBuyers or even throw them up on eBay (since at least a couple are hard to find, not that I really recommend finding them). And then there's the comics, gah. I have to stop obsessing about so much stuff--now it's LotR, with Highlander and FLtD lurking in the background, and there's all the comics to read through and get rid of or keep and then I'll want to reread all of X-men, and augh. And I'm babbling in your forum because I'm so damned tired, so will jsut stop here.

Make a comment!

14 January 2002 - Monday

Now I'm oncall. Wheee.

* * *

So what do you think of the comments log snippet at the top? Is it useful to know what's been commented on recently? Could the information be presented better? Is 5 the right number of lines to show? Comment me, baby!

Comments by Carl (Tue Jan 15 01:22:58 2002)

If you're going to list recent comments, shouldn't they link to the actual comments?

And perhaps, be in a readably-sized font?

5 is a good number.

Top Down by Flit (Tue Jan 15 07:34:02 2002)

Since everything else in the page is organized from the top down, it might be better to also organize the comment snips with the newest on top (or are the comments in reverse order too?).

Also, yeah, linkage, and a slightly larger font.

Re: Comments by Trip (Tue Jan 15 09:08:52 2002)

Okay, links! Ordering!

Is the font really that unreadable? It's the one I've been using for comment titles and footnotes and everything all along, and no one has complained before.

fonts and comments! by keeeet (Tue Jan 15 09:37:05 2002)

It's that unreadable. :) The only reason I haven't complained about it on the footnotes is because it amuses me so much there. :)

5 is good! 5 is a nice number!

fonts! by ayse (Tue Jan 15 09:42:37 2002)

The font for me is decently readable with double-spaced in comment links, but squished together in a bordered table it is actually unreadable, not merely small or hard to read.

The sadness that is HTML fonts by Trip (Tue Jan 15 10:22:50 2002)

Is the comment log more readable now? I switched from <font size=-2> to <font size=-1>, which apparently do not end up the same size on other people's machines.

I utterly refuse to specify a font, because I still draw a line between "all Windows XYZ boxes ship with Quirmbag 11.2pt" and "all computers have and will display 11.2pt Quirmbag in normal, bold, italic, and bold italic variants".

Specifying an absolute point size is more portable, but still fails on the "let the viewer decide how to see the HTML" issue.

The Sadness that is HTML fonts by liralen (Tue Jan 15 11:41:51 2002)

It's now readable for me. Keen. Yay for top down lists!

Playing King of the Mountain on your website by Carl (Tue Jan 15 22:25:47 2002)

Comments are much better, thanks! And wheee, now I have the latest comment! Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (latin for if you throw up on the bus Gloria will clean it up at the first of the week).

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi by Marith (Wed Jan 16 19:27:18 2002)

Carl, can I make a T-shirt of that?

T-Shirt by Carl (Wed Jan 16 23:34:39 2002)

Of course. You can make a T-shirt out of anything I say.

How about... by Flit (Thu Jan 17 09:19:45 2002)

"It's because you don't have a thingie."

Popping to Comments by Flit (Thu Jan 17 09:20:25 2002)

If I click on a comment shouldn't I go to that comment instead of the oldest comment in the stack?

Clearly by Flit (Thu Jan 17 09:20:59 2002)

I want to take over the comment tree! Mine mine all mine muahahaha!

Re: Popping to Comments by Trip (Thu Jan 17 15:24:04 2002)

That would be nicer, but would be more work. Maybe when I feel inspired.

pop! pop! pop! by keet (Fri Jan 18 10:21:36 2002)

Oooh, it would be nice. But the popping to comments at all bit is good! Pop! Pop! Pop!

Pehaps I'm tired. :)

Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! (the sad thing is i'm typing all those pops instead of c&ping them.) Pop! Pop! Pop!

Re: pop! pop! pop! by Trip (Fri Jan 18 13:29:27 2002)

Kit is very silly.

Pop.

Make a comment!

13 January 2002 - Sunday

Today I um. Went grocery shopping. And finally transferred the bookcases I got from Tara to the places I had picked out for them. And finished watching the Outlaw Star DVDs Carl gave me! Now I have to get more!

Oh, and I game-design-geeked with Bryant, who helped me mutate the idea that Robin Laws came up with first and used in The Dying Earth Role-Playing Game into something that looks vaguely like Sorcerer's core mechanic but is actually different. And possibly even workable.

Make a comment!

12 January 2002 - Saturday

Today, Chrisber turned out to not be too sick, so we did play Amber High School! Our Heroes ran roughshod over the city of Splendid Cathuria, or at least saw many sights and led members of the royal family astray.

We had fun, but post-game analysis determined that (to make a long discussion with much edamame shorter and less nourishing) of the three basic types of conflict you learned in high-school English class, we have plenty of Our Heroes vs Themselves, but could use more Our Heroes vs Other People or even Our Heroes vs The Natural World. We have sufficient personality to keep slice-of-life sessions tolerably entertaining, but true angst and character development only come from being thwarted in our goals; meeting only helpful people doesn't do it. So our GM will take matters under consideration, and produce even more excellent gaming!

Also, I have to write an essay on my character's homeland within the next four weeks, so the GM can be prepared if we make it there during the next session. Azteco-Egyptian coolness!

Make a comment!

11 January 2002 - Friday

Excitement at work! Bad! But not fatal; the site isn't down or anything. We figured out what was wrong and fixed it well before it got to that point, and then took away the loaded gun that had been lying around pointed at our corporate foot and took off our corporate shoe so it would be easier to bandage the wound if someone found another gun. After that, I did some more work, and admired my failure to devour the Pixie ship in TBG, and eventually snuck away home wumwumwumwum.

Make a comment!

10 January 2002 - Thursday

Enough people have mentioned the D&D stats test that I feel compelled to have an opinion on it. My opinion, of course, is that it really is pretty lame, although it's hard to have something like that not be lame. And there are arguments over whether someone with an 18 stat is supposed to be at 99.5th percentile of the general population or of truly mythic stature, and whether physical stats have declined and mental stats improved since the Middle Ages, and so forth, and so on, and pass me that glaive-glaive-guisarme-voulge-glaive I have to kill the heretics.

Time Lords has a write-up-yourself character generation system built in, and I think it works much better, at least judging by the range of results from the range of people we fed into it. Plus, you get to spin around and try to stand upright with your eyes closed, arm-wrestle your fellow gamers1, and otherwise make a fool of yourself, which is a lot more fun than clicking boxes on a web form.

1: The Strength tests are pretty biased toward upper-body Strength, unfortunately. But it's a lot easier to measure in a makeshift way with common household items; something to do with humans having their hands at the ends of their arms, I guess.

* * *

On the way home, I encountered an unpleasant situation. The bus driver and the passenger sitting right up near the door were going on in loud voices about "evolution is just a theory" and "if humans evolved from monkeys why are there still monkeys" and pretty much all the rest of major creationist lies, and it raised my blood pressure quite remarkably. Possibly I should have said something, but the driver obviously considered himself a deeply religious person and I didn't want to risk the chance that he'd drive his bus into a building if I threatened his faith.

I did scribble http://www.talkorigins.org/ on a spare schedule and hand it to him as I got off, so at least I've done something even if it will almost certainly come to nothing.

Something by Liralen (Fri Jan 11 08:36:08 2002)

Yay! Doing something is useful to the blood pressure if nothing else. That would have been very unpleasant indeed. hugs

Hee. Wrestling each other. That sounds like a very amusing way to stat up a character.

d&d stats by keet (Fri Jan 11 10:32:01 2002)

well, yah, they're bogus, but so are all the other tests. :) i don't really think i've got a 17 charisma. :)

Re: D&D stats by Trip (Fri Jan 11 11:55:06 2002)

I dunno! You are known and loved across the whole face of the globe! What more do you want?

d&d stats by kit (Fri Jan 11 17:33:15 2002)

Money?

Re: D&D stats by Trip (Sat Jan 12 21:12:46 2002)

I don't think that comes automatically with high Charisma. Usually, you have to kill some orcs or something.

doing something by Image (Mon Jan 14 16:09:35 2002)

Giving them the talkorigins website was certainly as clever as anything I would have done. Talking wouldn't have improved your blood pressure. Not unless you had, y'know, hours to waste and were in just exactly the right mood to stay calm no matter how ignorant they were and how self-satisfied their one-liners.

People who are reaffirming what they think of as their religion don't really want other people to walk in and tell them they believe counterfactual things, though. These sorts of conversations always end badly.

I suggest this take on it: Neither one was convincing anyone of anything. No net harm was done the cause of knowledge in the world. And you can think of what you might have said, and then one day say it in the right place and right time to help keep science in and ignorance out of public schools.

Re: doing something by Trip (Mon Jan 14 18:20:00 2002)

I know it wouldn't have done any good to butt in, and it would have been rude besides. It just galls me to hear people spouting blatant lies in loud voices in public.

People suck. (Except the ones who maintain talkorigins.org.)

Make a comment!

9 January 2002 - Wednesday

TBG turn! I got all my modules! And I'm paired with a helpless alien ship that is nevertheless almost certainly too heavily shielded for me to eat, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

Comics night (even though I haven't read everything I got last week, sigh), whee! I happened to run into Dave and JHart so I got a ride back and avoided sacrificing a precious quarter to the dark gods of VTA (hi Ray!), whee.

I seem to be failing badly on the "Buy no DVDs ever" front, in large part because videotapes all seem to be dubbed. Grrr. Hate hate hate.

Make a comment!

8 January 2002 - Tuesday

Today's argument: is the fact that Quidditch scoring doesn't make much sense1 a good or bad thing? Apparently, this is as acrimonious an issue as whether the Loch Ness monster should be investigated.

The argument on the side of "it's bad" is obviously that it ruins suspension of disbelief. The argument on the side of "it's good" is that it lets one player (Our Hero) get all the glory, which is what the author intended it to do.

I'm on the "it's bad" side, obviously; if I weren't, there wouldn't be any controversy. But my specific position is that it's a false dichotomy; it is entirely possible to have a game which lets one player stand out while not making it so distorted to that end that it's impossible to see why people played that game before Our Hero came along2. You can in fact satisfy both parties.

But to ask that my side be satisfied is apparently a gross insult to the other side3, so once again I rot in exile where I cannot offend the right-thinking.

1: To first approximation, nothing done by any player in the game matters except the Protagonist Player catching the Snitch.

2: EG, most sports played in the real world, which have plenty of fiction written about them.

3: After all, it would require dealing with those number things that only science freaks care about; real people in the real world never have to touch them, so anyone who admits to liking them is obviously one of the those.

* * *

Al said it better, or at least less bitterly. And I speculated more there.

Make a comment!

7 January 2002 - Monday

Perhaps slipping back into my vacation sleep pattern was not the best thing I could have done over the weekend.

* * *

You know it's bad when you start going, "Yah, I'd do that" at Red Meat.

* * *

Woo hoo! My ship in To Boldly Go has found a huge pile of components of a suitable tech level, at discounts ranging from okay to "can't possibly pass this up"! Now I can be a much studlier and more reliable ship! The great work moves forward!

But now it should be Wednesday so I can get my new modules and use them for evil!

* * *

I am now pretty sure Norm and I live on different planets. He was claiming1 that dating people in one's own closed little fringe social group is very difficult or worse, and I was able to think of several examples that I'd seen in the Horde. So my conclusion was that I'm just plain lame. :)

(Actually, though, the examples seemed to mostly be people who were in different lobes of the Horde, and did not have daily exposure to each other before the critical decision, so possibly the original point is still valid.)

1: This discussion took place over several sessions, actually; it just sounds like one here because it's easier to write that way.

* * *

I found a new Ken Macleod book, which I was not aware even existed until I was sucked into the bookstore! It's called Dark Light and it's a sequel to Cosmonaut Keep and so far is very good. With bonus Vinge reference!

Make a comment!

6 January 2002 - Sunday

Yay! Liralen used the comment feature!

Soon, I go to try to see Ocean's 11 with Emily again.

* * *

Success! We have seen Ocean's 11! And it was good! A quite fine heist movie, which probably could have had more diabolical cunning, but was not at all lacking in it. I was somewhat disappointed by the resolution of the romance subplot, but I'm an old curmudgeon.

Bonus points for use of Cockney rhyming slang!

* * *

I have finally1 watched the first two episodes of Outlaw Star, and am amused so far, despite the lack of kittygirls. The setting reminds me faintly of Fading Suns, although it's not quite as outrageously stratified by tech level. More review later, when I have seen more.

1: I have this terrible habit of wasting time until it's too late to watch anime without being Up Too Late. This is not because I don't appreciate the gifts people have given me, it is because I am LAME.

<giggles> by Liralen (Sun Jan 6 15:32:09 2002)

Yay! Ocean's 11! I hope you do write what you think of it, as John and I are contemplating seeing it, too, when we're in San Diego and Mom and Dad have kidnapped Jet for their nepharious purposes of spoiling the grandkid.

Yay! by Liralen (Mon Jan 7 09:58:15 2002)

Thank you for the review of Ocean's 11!!

And I think that once I've given you something, it's yours to do with as you please, no rush from me, at all, on what you do or when you do it with the present I gave! Just so you know! No guilt! No pressure! Period!

Usage of presents by Trip (Mon Jan 7 20:12:18 2002)

That's good, because actually we are watching my boss's copy at work-anime, three episodes a week! So I haven't even unwrapped the one you gave me! But I have it in case I ever want to watch it again and slow-mo the parts where Shampoo loses her clothes!

Make a comment!

5 January 2002 - Saturday

Even less happened today. I um ate. And read. (Yay Angie who gives me Diana Wynne Jones books!)

Make a comment!

4 January 2002 - Friday

Um. Did anything happen today? I don't think so. Well, not until after work, when I went to get comics (delayed by NYE/NYD) and then came home to find a card from the ghost of Fezzik! Yay Liralen, even if she does still mispell my name. :)

Eep! by Liralen (Sun Jan 6 15:17:08 2002)

I misspelled your name! Eek! Trip Trip Trip!

I probably mispelled your real names. I'm sorry.

Re: Eep! by Trip (Sun Jan 6 15:22:15 2002)

It's okay! I love you anyway! But really my last is "Placker". :)

Re: Re: Eep! by Liralen (Sun Jan 6 15:33:28 2002)

Thank you!! Now I'll be able to get it right! Yay!

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3 January 2002 - Thursday

Back at work, wub. But it's only a two-day week, so I think I can probably survive.

Actually, despite remembering not having slept well, I woke up quite thoroughly this morning. I guess I caught up on sleep over my vacation, or something! My biceps are sore from lugging around the material dross of Rebecca's life, though. Ow.

Work-anime is showing Ranma 1/2! Whee! It actually does hold up pretty well, despite being fifteen (twenty?) years old, although I now find the closeups of Ranma-chan's bust vaguely embarrassing. I must be getting old. (But I'm sure I'll recover when Shampoo shows up!)

* * *

This hurts my brain.

* * *

Looking at Angie's Brian Froud "Goblins of Labyrinth" calendar makes me think, "You could almost run Elfs with PCs as these sort of goblins instead of elfs!". This is because I am a big freak.

Watching Ranma 1/2 makes me want to write more HHH!, which is probably a good thing.

* * *

Upon further consideration, I realize that my desire to run Elfs is probably just another expression of the desire to lower myself to engaging in GURPS Goblins.

* * *

This hurts my brain even more. Bryant is a bad, bad person for spreading this.

WARNING: Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoilers! Sexual content! Really twisted! Read at your own risk! If your brain explodes: not my fic, monkeyboy!

Elfs! by tavella (Mon Jan 14 14:47:25 2002)

I want to play Elfs! There should be Elfs!

Re: Elfs! by Trip (Mon Jan 14 18:33:48 2002)

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much interest. I'd probably want at least three players (one elf in each stage?) to be sure of getting enough PC infighting, and so far I have er one volunteer.

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2 January 2002 - Wednesday

Today I attempted to get up at a reasonable hour as practice for tomorrow. I sort of succeeded, but there was a considerable delay between getting out of bed and waking up.

Then I sat around and contemplated my last day of vacation, and in fact the rest of my vacation, during which I successfully:

  • Gave some people presents that happied them
  • Maneuvered Sherilyn into running a D&D campaign
  • ... uh .... I'm thinking, I'm thinking!

Okay, so it hasn't been that productive a holiday season. Big surprise there.

* * *

Okay, I have accomplished one thing more before going back to work: I have helped Rebecca move. This is a bigger accomplishment than it sounds, because no organization of any kind was in evidence during the move. But! It was mostly done when I fled to go grocery shopping, and I tagged Dave on my way out, so there is no doom. Well, not much doom, and none of it mine, so there!

Now I feed on nothing that's really any good for me, in preparation for nesting at a reasonable hour.

Moving Rebecca by Liralen (Sun Jan 6 15:19:11 2002)

Yay, Trip, for helping Rebecca out and for tagging Dave!

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1 January 2002 - Tuesday

Wheeeeee 2002! Hurrah hurray!

Let's see if the second year of the future delivers on cool stuff.

* * *

The yearly ritual of changing the old Masamune Shirow Calendar for the new has been completed!

* * *

Now I have seen the Extremely Purple Shanrock-Solberg House, and the Extremely Large Yellow Shanrock-Solberg Dog. They are much as advertised.

Gretchen finally came through with the documentation beanie baby she promised: an extraordinarily pink flamingo.

I and my new flamingo have also participated in the first playtest of Carl's D&D3e scenario for Dundracon, but we can't tell you anything about it, neener neener!

I am up very late.

Yay! New Year! by Liralen (Sun Jan 6 15:21:23 2002)

Mmmm...Masamune Shirow calander.

Keen that you got to see the house and the dog! I've seen the house, but must see the dog sometime. Big Dogs are very keen. So I envy the Trip for having seen him!

AND for being able to play in Carl's game. Hmph! I guess you have reason to say 'Neener'!

Carl's Game by Trip (Sun Jan 6 15:24:17 2002)

In fact, saying "Neener" was part of the NDA Carl made us all sign! :)

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