Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 June 2004 - Wednesday

Spending all night lying down helped some of my blisters, but not all of them. This morning, there is no walking. Maybe a bit of hobbling, but the train is well out of hobbling range. Argh. This is not the day to be kept from the office by the limitations of fleshly biology. Bah.

* * *

Marith drove me to Lee's and the shoe store and whatnot, because she is the nicest Marith ever. I now have shoes identical (or nearly so) to the ones I had before, which eventually fell apart but did not savage my feets. Hopefully these blisters will go away soon so I can wear the new shoes.

Other than that, I spent the day sitting around, mostly on the floor so my feet wouldn't relatively somewhat elevated. Only eight more episodes of Neo Ranga and four of Witch Hunter Robin to go!

* * *

Hm, I may have put too much mint in these brownies. Well, it's not like that will keep gamers from eating them.

* * *

Jeremy added the last squamous straw that broke the parasite's common sense, and I have now ordered a 12" Powerbook, with a couple of the smaller bells and an entry-level whistle. Aieeee.

* * *

After four weeks without, we have played Hounds of Balazar again. Only very minor mysteries have been revealed, but we did kill a giant who attacked us. Alas, the giant was also very minor, not more than ten meters tall.

This week's (month's, really) gaming brownies were experi-mint flavored. Yum!

brownies by Marith (Wed Jun 30 19:22:49 2004)

Is there actually such a thing as too much mint?

...You knew I was going to say that, didn't you.

Re: brownies by Trip (Thu Jul 1 08:19:59 2004)

If there is, I didn't find it! Yummy experi-mint brownies!

Make a comment!

29 June 2004 - Tuesday

Finally made a little demo thing for the stuff I've been working on. It's awfully small and demo-y, but it works without fakery, which puts it in the upper percentiles of the demo demographic.

* * *

Apparently I did not harshly upbraid my shoes enough yesterday, because today they started eating holes in my feet. When I got to Ray's and took them off, I had about three blisters on each foot, some of them quite large. I couldn't face putting them back on again for the walk home, so I ended up walking the whole way barefoot, which either got me some new blisters or aggravated ones that had previously paled in comparison to the alpha blisters.

One episode left before the second story arc of Card Captor Sakura! I guess it's time to get Stacy to assemble the edited version of the second story arc.

We started Someday's Dreamers tonight, and people liked it( maybe because I promised Tokyo Tower would get its come-uppance). Favorite line so far: "I'd like to teach cute boys, too."

Between episodes, we celebrated Neil's birthday. Stacy gave him about a shelf-foot of material on learning Japanese so he can be prepared when they go in April. We'll have to quiz him next week.

* * *

Ow. Stupid feets.

Make a comment!

28 June 2004 - Monday

One of the great things about reading The 20' By 20' Room is that sometimes one comes across a link that leads to a link that leads to something like Seadog Tuxedo.

Man, I wish I had an idea for LC that was half that funny.

* * *

Work is like work. But I get paid for it.

* * *

Adam's aging brain has failed him, and he didn't remember to get a car before the rental place closed (which seems strange; don't people ever want to rent cars in the evening?), so no Paradise Mislaid tonight. And after I bought all those new dice, too!

The Bertanis and I had to have fun without him, though, so we played a few games of Nanofictionary (Chrisber won twice, I won once) in hopes of someday becoming cool enough to play Once Upon A Time. It didn't work, though, so instead we had to play Munchkin Fu. I won according to the victory conditions set forth in the rules, but Christy clearly won under the "dies with the most toys" clause. Her l3wts were ph4tter than Chrisber's and mine put together!

* * *

Bah. Stupid new shoes make my feet sore. But I guess that's to be expected with new shoes which are not extremely similar to my old shoes.

Seadog Tuxedo by Marith (Tue Jun 29 22:44:30 2004)

Okay, I claim these weirdos should hold a competition to build the best game set in Ursula's gearworld. 1) it would be cool and surreal, and 2) it would give her an excuse to do lots more art. :)

Make a comment!

27 June 2004 - Sunday

Today I was mostly just plain lazy, although I did successfully go with Ken to shop for new shoes. Also, I bought some blank cards at Gamescape. I'm not sure what they're for, yet, but they seem like they must be good for something.

* * *

A bit more Neo Ranga, and lots of shopping. The new shoes are a bit loose, but do not seem to be devouring my feet.

* * *

Finally, more Adventures of Jehane & Alazaïs! We fought off the naked tree wench and her mind-controlled thralls, attempted to explain that mind-controlling people is bad but couldn't get through to her, and finally ended up having to do her in. Now we get to level up, so I have to revisit the idea of Alazaïs taking a level of cleric of Sune. On the one hand, any multiclassing except among fighter/barbarian/ranger/paladin is a sure way to make sure your character is ineffectual. On the other, the party already includes a wizard with a level of fighter, and a bard (pre-multiclassed), so multiclassing wouldn't necessarily make Alazaïs weak compared to the rest of the party.

Or, I could plummet into a pit and expire, because I'm just not a very good roleplayer.

* * *

Argh, we didn't finish gaming until 23:00. Doom.

Make a comment!

26 June 2004 - Saturday

After sleeping in, I spent the afternoon playing Kingdom of Loathing, because I could! I managed to get all three of my characters stuffed, plastered, and out of adventures, which I haven't done in ages. Having a job sure cuts into my web-based gaming.

Also, I have figured out how to make pr0n cocktails. Woot.

Then we went to the coffee shop to read and drink Scilian smoothies (sugar-free, this time, although half-and-half probably isn't very healthy) until talking about KoL made Ayse so hungry for sausage & mushroom pizza that we had to go home and order some. I'm not sure it increased either our Muscle or our Mysticality, but it was tasty. Also, there was Fluxx.

Once we were too bloated and sleepy to escape, Ken showed a couple episodes of Yes, Minister. The parliamentary system is weird. I am glad that the minister did better than it looked like he was going to in the first episode, though.

Make a comment!

25 June 2004 - Friday

Still not dead, but looking forward to the weekend of not getting up early.

* * *

Today's gaming thought, in betwen creating a library of useful primitives so that Ravi and I can automate the entire world:

Some guy wrote up a list of the seven types of adventures (somewhat like S John Ross did, but more generically) so he could analyze his own GMing and hopefully avoid getting stuck in any ruts.

The seven adventure types are:

  • Locate/obtain person or object
  • Kill/Destroy person or object
  • Observe person or object
  • Protect person or object
  • Move person or object
  • Explain a series of events
  • Survive a series of events

    Of course, combinations are possible. In fact, they might even be inevitable.

    So what is gaming around here like? Almost all of our games have heaping helpings of #1 and #6, which generally involves #3 as well. After that, Home Front seems to be mostly #2, with some #7 as a side effect of the villains not wanting to be beaten up. #4 and #5 don't come up very often -- unless rescuing someone counts as #4? Or #5? Or #1? I guess it's a matter of emphasis on methods. Anyway, that's usually a subplot.

    Hounds of Balazar has had plenty of #6, and will have more, because we still have no idea what's going on. Plenty of #1, #2, #7. I wonder if grilling people counts as #3 (rephrasing it as "Extract information from person or object)? Some #5 (magic tokens need to be used in the right place) as a side effect of trying to accomplish the others. I guess the campaign as a whole is #4: protect Balazar and the Balazaring way of life.

    AQoJ has lots of #2 and #7, being D&D. Again, the campaign is #4, even if individual adventures aren't. We're in the middle of a bunch of #1 (obtain Items of Great Power), which may occasion any of the others depending on the particular obstacles.

    Hm. This isn't as unbalanced as I thought it was when I was thinking about it without the list in front of me. Still, #3, #4, and #5 are underrepresented, and #7 doesn't generally occur in a pure form (which I guess would be the horror or disaster genre). I must use this knowledge to er suck less. If that's feasible.

    Hey, I can't be interesting every day!

    * * *

    The primitive library is still very primitive, but I may have gotten to the level of banging rocks together to get sharp edges. Next: tying them to sticks!

    * * *

    Argh, stupid shoes! The shoes I wear to work gave out, so today I wore the wimpy slip-on ones I use when taking the trash out and such. I knew they aren't good for walking long distances, but I didn't expect to get a blister after wearing them for only one day. :(

    * * *

    Kithug can get to the Penultimate Fantasy Airship! W00t!

    * * *

    It turns out to be extra-okay that GreenCine didn't send me any Sailor Moon, because the boxed set that Dave ordered came in today and made Ayse jump up and down! So we watched the first six episodes of season one, and Marith brought us food, and I got Ayse hooked on Trader Joe's lemon-dill sauce and it was, in fact, all good.

  • types of gaming by Ken (Sat Jun 26 13:59:36 2004)

    So what would you say my game consists of?

    Re: types of gaming by Trip (Sat Jun 26 14:52:12 2004)

    Earthdawn was mostly #1 and #5. AoJ&A has had lots of #1, #2, #6, and #7. #3 has mostly come up in pursuit of those larger goals, rather than as an end in itself.

    Make a comment!

    24 June 2004 - Thursday

    A continuation of yesterday's gaming thought about Concessions:

    I'm still pretty sure Concessions don't work in a symmetric contest (like a fight) in a symmetric system, since they lead to strange situations like both sides being both victorious and defeated, or to one side being victorious but having had to make Concessions and the other defeated but otherwise suffering no ill effects.

    If you make the contest asymmetric, though, I think they can work: whoever has the initiative attacks, and may end up with the choice of succeeding at a cost, or accepting a failure and hoping the other side fails, so they can get another turn and maybe win with fewer Concessions.

    But, the problem with the Concessions system as stolen from SitF is that it requires subtraction. (Okay, perhaps it's petty and wrong of me to still be stung by Christy's comment about not getting to socialize unless she does math first. Your point?) Fortunately, I have an almost entirely math-free system handy: The Pool, and it combines well the idea of Concessions, thusly:

    Ditch the idea of a pool. You get a free die or dice according to difficulty, and any dice from your traits. If you succeed, swell: make your monologue of victory and move on. If you fail and are okay with that, still swell: accept the GM's (relatively lenient) monologe of defeat, and move on. However, if you fail and don't want to, you can make a Concession in exchange for some more dice. If you succeed, you have to narrate the Concession in your MoV. If you fail, you can either let the GM narrate the Concession in the MoD, or get more dice by making another Concession. Repeat until either you succeed or you can't stand any more Concessions.

    How many dice you get for a Concession depends on how many Concessions you think is a reasonable number to end up with. Since Pool (which er no longer has a pool - it's Zen, right?) is so abstract, having more than maybe 3-4 Concessions at most would be pretty tedious. I'm guessing three dice per Concession is about right, although you could make a case for four (which is almost exactly 50/50 odds of turning your failure into success).

    For this to work right, a Concession has to be really painful, and I'm not sure how to implement that in Zen Rock Garden (we don't have a pool, but we have some sand and a rake-- oh, never mind). Maybe just a die off one trait involved in the roll? That's awfully death-spirally, though. Maybe nothing specific is needed: it will generally be obvious to at least person what the doom should be, and they can say so. Kibitzing leads to greater player involvement, right?

    At least, I hope someone can figure out what sort of Concessions are appropriate to an unopposed roll like "wow them with our tunes", because I can't. Remember, if you make Concessions, it's in order to succeed, so Concessions can't be antiparallel to success.

    * * *

    Speaking of death spirals, I really want to make a damage system that goes from unhurt to minor penalties to major bonuses (but major penalties after the fight) to defeated, representing the way heroes fight best and pull out the Special Moves when they're desperate. (This should seem familiar to Final Fantasy players.)

    I think this would work well for Lovecraft Country, although I still need to know what the actual system is to be like. Argh.

    * * *

    Finally, a quiet relaxing night at home, playing KoL and watching more anime from GreenCine. Whew!

    I keep not having time to play all my KoL characters, which is very sad! However, they seem to be doing well anyway. Our Planet is quickly gaining members, now that we sell immigration visas to just about anyone who asks, and finally has pastamancers. Canned Coelecanth isn't growing as fast, but I sold the Mr Accessory I got for donating to support the site for 3 megameat (and then donated to get another one) so our Secret Can has all the cool furnishings. Go us, for all applicable values of "us"!

    And, I finally found out what location I was missing! I had to visit a spoiler page, but I just skimmed it for something that seemed unfamiliar and then stopped reading, so I remain mostly honest.

    Yum, papaya tacos!

    Neo Ranga is still interesting. Those are some weird scary girls, especially the youngest sister.

    * * *

    Stayed up too late working on my Vast Pile of Manga from yesterday (is that like meat from yesterday?), but not egregiously late.

    Concessions by Chrisber (Fri Jun 25 21:03:21 2004)

    > At least, I hope someone can figure out what sort of Concessions are appropriate to an unopposed roll like "wow them with our tunes", because I can't.

    The first thing that leapt to my mind was "We wow them with our tunes. They are awed and talk about it for days. Our enemies overhear this, and now know where we are."

    Re: Concessions by Trip (Fri Jun 25 23:40:07 2004)

    Oh, yah, that's pretty good. I'll have to remember that one. :)

    Neo Ranga by Carl (Sun Jun 27 17:09:08 2004)

    What could possibly go wrong with a 12-year old girl having her own private god? :-)

    Re: Neo-Ranga by Trip (Mon Jun 28 08:20:27 2004)

    Only slightly more than a 12-year-old girl being head of state, really.

    Make a comment!

    23 June 2004 - Wednesday

    We finally got to test the stuff I've been writing on some of the machines it will be running on. Still not touching real data, but it does seem to be able to do stuff in places, as commanded.

    * * *

    Today's gaming thought is about Shadows in the Fog (pdf, sorry), and its idea of Concessions.

    For a while I've been trying to come up with a good way to implement a system with six possible outcomes: success with extra winnage ("critical"), plain success, success but with a downside, failure but with some progress, plain failure, and failure with extra doom ("fumble"). The obvious way to do this with a target number system is to just compare the margin of success/failure to the Great Table of Life, but that adds at least a table lookup and possibly a subtraction on every roll. Then I thought of making multiple rolls (in parallel, using multiple dice) and assigning the outcome based on how many of the rolls succeeded, but that's even worse. So my idea languished in the Hell of Unimplementable Notions, where it had plenty of company.

    What SitF does is this: if the card you play falls short of the target number, you can either accept the failure and move on, or give up some number of Concessions to make up the difference. SitF is pretty narrative, so each Concession is just a statement about what went wrong. For example, if you're trying to hit someone and have to give three Concessions, you could say, "I punch him right in face, but I hurt my hand, he reels back out of reach, and he kicks over the lantern".

    (I think this works best in what I think of as an "asymmetric" system: one like Elfs or The Pool, where NPCs are mechanically represented only as difficulty levels for the PCs to overcome. (This is about the most anti-simulationist thing I can conceive of, but it seems feasible if you align your brain correctly.))

    Player choice is, in fact, the missing ingredient in my idea. Fortunately I have no shame about stealing from my betters.

    This also ties into what I was babbling the other day about stakes: the stakes in a contest determine what you have to give up to constitute a Concession, or at least how painful it has to be.

    This has appeal for The Pool, where the player gets to narrate their victory anyway, so concessions would fit right in, but I'm not sure how to work it into the very binary success/failure resolution without adding complexity.

    Which reminds me: I should get a couple of movethroughs of different-colored dice and some small (sandwich-sized?) tupperwaroid containers for next Monday's Paradise Mislaid session. If it happens at all; I'm pretty much just waiting for the players to admit they don't want to game with me and would rather talk about how expensive it is to refurbish houses.

    * * *

    Hey, cool! Carl, who is both generous and mighty, has given me a gmail invite. I am now space.parasite. I don't know how often I'll use the thing, but it's there. If nothing else, I can get another Kingdom of Loathing character that I won't have time to play. :)

    * * *

    There was a plan to have dinner with Steve Anderson (my roommate from first term my frosh year wow that was a long time ago), but by the time I finished running errands, it was after 19:00 and I was still in Mountain View, and there were messages from Jeremy about how dinner had started even earlier than expected, so I gave up and died in a pit.

    Then Ayse and Ken removed me from the pit and made me go to Kabul, where I have not dined in many years. It is still good, and still serves huge amounts, so now I have leftover lawang lurking in my fridge for later.

    Since we took forever to get going, and then it took a long time to get fed, dinner took up almost the entire evening. But it was happy dinner with friends, so there's very little chance that anything else I might have done with that time would have been better.

    Make a comment!

    22 June 2004 - Tuesday

    Argh, I suffer Powerbook Lust!

    I've been thinking for a while that I would get a new computer when I became a productive member of society, and that day is here. Unix is good, usability is good, and not being ignored by software developers and peripheral manufacturers is good, which all adds up to a Mac, so I sought testimonials from my Mac-owning friends.

    It turns out that the computer I've been issued by Taos is a laptop with a 12" screen, and the size doesn't give me hives (Windows does, and the keyboard and mouse buttons being old and worn does, but that's another story), so I am strongly affected by Adam's glowing praise for his 12" Powerbook. Snivel, whine!

    The 12" has only one USB port and no PC card slot, but it has 802.11 and Bluetooth built in, so maybe I don't more than that? But, $1800! Not counting an external mouse and keyboard (which Adam recommends) and perhaps an external monitor for when I'm at home pretending I have a desktop machine. Oh, and an external disk for backup. Although maybe the DVD-writer drive would cover that? It's not like I collect endless gigs of anime digisubs, mp3s, or pr0n gifs...

    Argh!

    * * *

    Bah! Chrisber only beamed me Picturelogic on Saturday and I've already sucked all the fun out of it! I guess I need to get a computer that talks to external brains and download a bunch more puzzles from that interwebnet thingy.

    * * *

    The fraction of what Ray shows that I've already seen (tonight, one of the Tenchi Muyo movies; the one with Kain) suggests that I watch too much anime. But I like watching anime. Hmph.

    And now I have more of it to watch, because GreenCine has acknowledged that I sent back all the DVDs I had out! It is sad that none of them is Sailor Moon, which is first in my queue, but since it has the lowest availability color code, not too surprising. I guess everyone wants to see the first DVD of uncut season one!

    * * *

    More fractional improvement in going-to-bed-ness, but it would be hard to do a lot better given that I had to walk home from Whisman starting at 22:00.

    12" Powerbook by Bruce (Tue Jun 22 15:13:23 2004)

    I came /this/ close to getting the 12" Powerbook back when I bought my laptop.

    Remember that while it only has one USB port, I think it has two Firewire ports: a 4 pin unpowered, and a 6 pin powered.

    My only beef with the Powerbook at the moment is that it only has a trackpad, and oh how I hate those. I much prefer the little trackpoint nubs.

    Does Apple sell a dock for its Powerbooks? If you want to use that as your primary machine at home, I recommend one.

    And since you already have a linux server, you can use that for external backups, couldn't you? Just nfs or smb mount disk and backup to it.

    Re: 12" Powerbook by Trip (Wed Jun 23 08:25:12 2004)

    I suppose it's true that I don't have to fling my linux box into a pit; I just feel like it whenever I want to print something. :)

    Apple doesn't seem to make docks, but it's not clear to me what a dock gets you that just plugging in external devices doesn't.

    An external mouse avoids the trackpad issue altogether. Plus, bluetooth mice are cool. :)

    Re: Re: 12" Powerbook by Bruce (Wed Jun 23 10:19:20 2004)

    Docks save you time and effort in plugging in keyboard, mouse, video, and network cables everytime you sit down at your desk. My work machine is a laptop/dock combination, and the dock makes it much more convenient.

    An external mouse does indeed avoid the trackpad issue at home, but not when you're on the road. To me, that's the most important function of a laptop: travel.

    My view of computers is a powerful desktop for when I'm home, and a light ultraportable laptop when I'm not home. But I can see some people wanting one computer to rule them all.

    Re: Re: 12" Powerbook by Trip (Wed Jun 23 10:44:20 2004)

    Adam has led me astray with his talk of sitting in the comfy chair with his laptop, and using the arm of the chair for a mousepad. :)

    Comfy chair + laptop by Bruce (Thu Jun 24 10:04:35 2004)

    "Adam has led me astray with his talk of sitting in the comfy chair with his laptop, and using the arm of the chair for a mousepad. :)"

    Hmm, while sounding good in theory, I'm not sure how good in practice this is.

    * Laptops get hot, so eventually your lap will get uncomfortably warm. Powerbooks seem to get even hotter.

    * Arm of the chair for mousepad doesn't sound very natural, and a bit of a balancing act.

    * If laptop is on your lap while sitting up, you have to look down to see the screen, rather than the more natural looking forward when you're at a desk. Might cause a neck cramp.

    Of course you have a laptop now, so you can test this comfy chair/laptop action.

    Not trying to rain on your parade of laptop lust, but I've thought a lot about the roles of different types of computers.

    Re: comfy chair +laptop by Trip (Thu Jun 24 11:53:51 2004)

    You're no fun!

    Probably right, but still no fun.

    The heat issue is probably solvable with something to provide an air gap. As for the rest, dunno. Really, I'd probably be pretty happy with a computer that I can set up on whatever table I happen to be sitting at (for gaming, etc); using it without a table would be nice, but not necessary.

    powerbook by Bryant (Mon Jun 28 11:50:39 2004)

    I use my 12" on my lap all the time (hush) and I am very happy with it; it doesn't get too hot in my experience. Mind you, I wear pants.

    It rocks for gaming. I ran some Hero sessions off it and was most pleased.

    btw, Trip, do you have an RSS feed?

    Re: powerbook by Trip (Mon Jun 28 12:57:28 2004)

    I think I am doomed to succumb to Powerbook Lust.

    I don't have an RSS feed, because every time someone says I should get one, I say, "What happens when I go back and edit the one entry for a given day?", and they say, "Uh.".

    disturbingly mobile by Jeremy (Wed Jun 30 15:35:08 2004)

    OS X: most excellent.

    Powerbook running OS X: warm, cuddly, very powerful and portable (but watch out for non-standard external monitor connections - maybe not an issue with the newer ones).

    Laptop computer + wireless LAN: extremely creepy. Free of its UTP-Cat5/RJ45 tether, Rachel's machine has taken to wandering around the house. It doesn't seem to be watching me, particularly; just pursuing its own, no doubt nefarious, ends. Fortunately it has to return to the desk periodically in order to suckle at PG&E's teat, where I can sometimes hogtie it with the USB cable for Rachel's Palm cradle (which is glued to the desk in order to give the T3 a sense of permanence and belonging).

    I'd have to say the wireless network is worthwhile, even so. I'm currently rocking Edie to sleep in a darkened room, connected to the internet via my fillings. Very convenient.

    Re: disturbingly mobile by Trip (Wed Jun 30 18:07:08 2004)

    Okay, you've sold me on it!

    Re: disturbingly mobile by Jeremy (Wed Jun 30 19:53:22 2004)

    Um. Err.... Oh, yes: Mwahaha!

    Re: disturbingly mobile by Trip (Thu Jul 1 08:22:05 2004)

    Fortunately(?) Apple says they won't be able to ship the wireless weasel for a couple of weeks, so I'll have time to train the Powerbook in good habits while it's still tethered to a network cable.

    Make a comment!

    21 June 2004 - Monday

    Not entirely dead, although certainly not very clever.

    * * *

    Woot! The Military-Industrial Complex did not shoot down SpaceShip One!

    Now, my BoTE calculations (performed on the actual back of an actual envelope, I kid you not!) suggest that a 100km-high arc is short of orbit by a factor of about 4 in delta-V, but on the other hand, Rutan's entire project has cost about 1/25 of what NASA pays for a single shuttle launch. I think this counts as an official Good Beginning.

    * * *

    Today is the day of documenting. Well, except where I decided that the code I wrote the other day was lame, and ripped it out to replace it with a more general mechanism.

    * * *

    After reading this, I'm not sure I can face running Paradise Mislaid anymore. (Link swiped from incandescens@LJ.)

    * * *

    Speaking of gaming, I got this page from the 20'x20' Room, and it has caused me to think.

    (Admittedly, this guy is clearly heavily Narrativist, which I'm normally not, but on the other tentacle, I'm not sure there's any other way to run a system like The Pool.)

    I'm not sure exactly what it is that I'm thinking, but the stuff about explicitly defining the stakes seems relevent. I was noticing yesterday at Home Front that quite a few rolls were made where failure had no real downside except wasting a bit of time, so should we have made those rolls? (Well, yes, since we were playing Tristat, not Pool, but you know what I mean.) I guess this ties into the dictum "Actions should either succeed, or fail interestingly": if you can't think of an interesting failure mode for an action (where "interesting" includes "the GM wants to bother dealing with it"), then the action should succeed.

    Possibly I found this page interesting because I have been having my own thoughts about stakes. However, I've only gotten as far as considering the principle that you should have to risk something comparable to what you hope to win, and finding it potentially lacking. On another tentacle, most heroic adventures are zero-sum games...

    No, wait! I had another thought! Let me fish it out from behind the couch... Oh, right, it was that possibly players should get to decide what stakes should be involved in a fight scene: is this the kind of fight where one side gets chased off, the kind of fight where people get people, or the kind of fight that leaves bodies littering the landscape? There would have to be some mechanism for changing the stakes (presumably at a cost) and for resolving what happens when the two sides want different stakes, but I am not smart enough to figure it out. Maybe a penalty to the side that wants greater stakes, so they're less likely to do their greater harm?

    * * *

    You will all be shocked and surprised to hear that the A Little Snow Fairy, Sugar special is very very cute. Also, the grown-up short-haired Greta is almost as much of a babe as she thinks she is. (I'll be over here now.)

    * * *

    Hm. That wasn't really like going to bed on time either, although it was marginally less doomed than last night.

    Make a comment!

    20 June 2004 - Sunday

    The Gollubs' place is further from El Camino than I had remembered, but it did not take longer to walk than I had allowed, so all was well. I still feel like a piker next to Dave, but overall I probably enjoyed spending the other two hours reading more than I would have walking.

    Nazi dinosaurs with upgraded souls! Yike!

    Adam had to leave early to day his father, so we didn't get to the climactic showdown this time, and will have to wait a month.

    But the banana bread was good!

    * * *

    Well, at least my scores in Nanofictionary will keep people away from my writing!

    * * *

    I have now finished the first season of Neo Ranga, in which approximately no questions are answered, none of the main characters appear wearing only white ribbons, and Tokyo is not destroyed by orbital energy weapons. The second season had better get moving!

    * * *

    I should probably not have stayed up until almost 1 playing Picturelogic. I blame Chrisber for beaming it to me.

    Nanofictionary by Jeremy (Mon Jun 21 10:50:03 2004)

    It's now abundantly clear: when you're writing alone, with no one watching, you cheat and deal yourself better cards. Shame. Abasing your ethics for the sake of better art!

    Re: Nanofictionary by Trip (Mon Jun 21 13:37:47 2004)

    Nah, I just deal out four hands and play them against each other, and then go with the winner. The other three hands get fed to the tigers.

    banana bread by cat (Fri Jul 2 15:19:26 2004)

    yay! i'm glad that people ate it and liked it. :)

    Re: banana bread by Trip (Fri Jul 2 15:57:30 2004)

    I ate way more of it than I should have, because it was so good!

    Make a comment!

    19 June 2004 - Saturday

    I probably should have gotten up more and earlier (which sounds like a spam subject line) but instead I played KoL until it was time to hurry through the shower and off to Amber High School.

    This was not the most action-packed session we've ever had, but at least there was Ocean of Ungulate. Also, we have finally made it to Rebma.

    I think I erred in making a character who is too sane. We need more trouble.

    * * *

    I failed in my lasagna-purchasing duties because I wasn't smart enough to find the oversized section where they keep ten-pound frozen lasagnas! However, we improvised with multiple smaller frozen lasagnas, and all was well until I splattered most of one all over Ayse and Ken's living room. At least I got myself, too. :(

    After the living room was detomatoed, though, we watched the first disc of InuYasha, and Ayse liked it! We think Ken liked it too, but he had taken strong medicine for one of the random aches and pains that afflict us all from time to time, so we mostly had to try to divine his opinion from the way he slouched boneless and semiconscious in his chair. :)

    Make a comment!

    18 June 2004 - Friday

    The alarm must have caught me right in the middle of a REM cycle, because I brought many strange dreams with me into waking. (Also, I am still quasisomnolent.)

    I don't remember the earliest segment very well, except that it involved Christmas celebrations and going around to people's apartments and there was probably some sort of vague conflict but it was all resolved happily.

    Next, some kind of shopping-for-books activity in small yet not good bookstores at night, and not finding what I wanted. This somehow (I think a shipwreck was involved) segued into a gaming dream of the two-level sort. I and a few other people had gained low-level superpowers after the shipwreck(?) and had to hunt formless gooey Cthulhoid entities through city streets near a shore. Some of us had leaping or weak flying powers, but they weren't all that reliable. Earl was the GM (of course), and we were using some system that involved a bunch of d4s and might even have been called the d4 System. I failed to cope with one of the monsters dripping glutinously from a dumpster to trap some poor NPC in a bubble of slime, and the level of failure the system produced was "defeated for a week", which meant that I was going to be stuck clinging to the top of the telephone pole I had retreated to for a week. (Apparently this was only two steps away from permanent defeat, ie death.)

    There was another segue that made sense at the time, but I no longer remember how I ended up as a brain in a box in a huge prison realm that travelled between dimensions. This wasn't as bad as it sounds, since the box had wheels and various sensors, and I was being released from the prison. (I don't think I had actually been a prisoner, just wound up stuck there for a while.) There was another brain in a box (actually I think she might have been more than a brain, just not very functional as a body) who was also being released, so we figured we should hang out together wherever we ended up. Unfortunately, the dimension we ended up in was pretty oppressive, and their internal security troops were busy trying to stomp out rebels who had been impersonating intsec soldiers, so there were loudspeaker annoucements about it being a shooting offense to wear the official white/gold/purple color scheme without authorization. Guess what color the brainboxes were? Still, after some excitement dodging rebel-seeking missiles, we managed to persuade the troops we hadn't meant to violate local law, and got the gold and purple bits spraypainted white.

    All during this segment, there were bits with trying to get around as brains in wheeled boxes, and the director part of my subconscious kept changing what the boxes looked like: we'd started out as, pretty much, smallish refrigerators on four wheels, but there were some bits where we also had arms, and finally we ended up as low, slightly bulged rectangles with thick multipurpose limbs at each corner.

    Sadly, I felt obligated to work once I arrived at Corio, so although my brain insists there were other interesting bits before and after this stuff, it won't tell me what they were. Happily, the perl script now performs all the functions it's supposed to (although it hasn't been tested with malformed input or hostile environment yet).

    * * *

    I've been working more than 8 hours a day, but as I understand it, I'm not supposed to go over 40 hours a week (technically, 80 hours per 2 weeks) without explicit authorization from the client manager. Since the person whose budget is paying for me hasn't answered my repeated emails on the issue, I will leave when I reach 40 hours, which is in about fifteen minutes.

    Perhaps I will celebrate surviving my first full week of employment (and getting my first paycheck) by going to see Chronicles of Riddick.

    * * *

    My, that was a bad movie. There was a lot of action, but little of it served to advance the plot, mostly because there wasn't much of one. The villains were even dimmer than religious fanaticism could justify. The names were atrocious. The world-building made Pitch Black's orbital mechanics look well thought out, even neglecting the annoying supernatural bits. Riddick was not nearly reluctant enough, given that he could have escaped the problems afflicting other people pretty easily.

    "Weren't there any good bits?" I hear the other people who liked Pitch Black cry. Well, um, hm. The villains did, at least, seem to be sincere in their religious beliefs. And it had Judi Dench! playing a flying polyp!

    * * *

    However, as I escaped the movie, I ran into Dave's brother, and eventually Dave's mom and Dave himself, who had just seen the same showing of the same movie (but had come in after the lights went down, so we hadn't spotted each other earlier). Then there was sushi! Sadly, Dave's mom got the check when I wasn't looking, so I was the recipient of sushi rather than the giver. Life is so hard.

    * * *

    Marith, Ayse, and Ken went and had Sicilian smoothies without me while I was being sushed! Sniff!

    So I played some KoL, watched some more Neo Ranga, and eventually went to bed.

    weird dreams by kit (Mon Jun 21 11:15:02 2004)

    which meant that I was going to be stuck clinging to the top of the telephone pole I had retreated to for a week.

    I like this bit very best of all. :)

    Riddick was not nearly reluctant enough

    I haven't even seen Pitch Black, and I noticed that. But as for good bits, well, I'm a sucker for Vin Diesel, so I'm surprisingly content to watch him be his growly self even through the midst of bad movies. :)

    Re: weird dreams by Trip (Mon Jun 21 13:36:20 2004)

    You only say that because you didn't have to figure out what your character was going to do when he needed to go to the bathroom for the next week!

    I like Vin Diesel too; the problem was all the other stuff they put in the movie. Well, most of the other stuff.

    Re: weird dreams by kit (Tue Jun 22 09:42:18 2004)

    Well, it would've helped if they hadn't put Thadie or Thandie or whatever it is Newton in the film at all. Although it's better than having put Denise Richards in it, I suppose. :)

    Re: weird dreams by Trip (Tue Jun 22 10:11:37 2004)

    In fact, if they had mulched everyone else in the film and used the biomass for clones of Vin Diesel and Judi Dench, it could have turned out pretty well!

    Re: weird dreams by kit (Wed Jun 23 09:27:30 2004)

    Yeah! Why didn't they think of that?!

    Re: weird dreams by Trip (Wed Jun 23 10:11:53 2004)

    Because they aren't as cool as we are, of course. Plus, they probably get in trouble with the Actors' Guild for doing stuff like that.

    Make a comment!

    17 June 2004 - Thursday

    Hey, cool, the perl script mostly works. Now we need the config files, and someplace for real testing, but at least the idea has been proved to be not completely bogus.

    * * *

    I am afraid that going in to look for one book and coming out with eight qualifies as a bookstore accident, but some of them are Kit's fault and some of them are Bryant's fault!

    Well, okay, one each. But that only leaves five excess books that are my fault! That's different, right?

    Oh, what the heck. I have a job, after all!

    And my job provides me with money to purchase chicken carbonara subs, so I am happy. Even if pigging out in the evening is not like eating a proper lunch.

    * * *

    I keep seeing items in KoL, in the Evil Kittens stash and the flea market, that I not only have never found myself but that don't even look thematic with any place I've ever been. This causes me to think that there's some location or quest or something that opens up a major location that I just haven't found, probably through not obsessively sticking everything in my inventory to everything else in my inventory with meat paste. However, I finally broke down and asked about a couple of things, and it turns out that perhaps I just need to spend more time grinding through locations I thought I had already thoroughly sampled.

    Right now, however, I am going to call Norm about scheduling and then show Marith the new InuYasha DVD.

    * * *

    Augh! They ended after the first part of a two-parter! The bastards!

    * * *

    And my bookstore accident has already claimed its first sacrifice of sleep, via Wasteland of Flint (Thomas Harlan). Somehow, Aztecs is space is just infinitely cooler than Celts in space, even if they do seem to have given up human sacrifice as uneconomic.

    I think I will be able to maintain my record of only recommending to CZR books he likes.

    italics and books by kit (Fri Jun 18 09:58:36 2004)

    You forgot to turn off your italics or your cite after InuYasha, I think. :)

    Is the Thomas Harlan book better than the first book of his I tried to read? Shadow of A.. I can't spell the word. Arart, or something like that. Anyway, I got 40 or 70 pages into it and just couldn't keep going.

    I have to agree, though, that the idea of Aztecs in space is somehow inherently cooler than the idea of Celts in space. Maybe 'cause there's too much Celtic stuff and not enough Aztec stuff. :)

    Re: books by Trip (Fri Jun 18 10:49:39 2004)

    I don't know, I've never read any other Thomas Harlan books! But I stayed up until almost midnight reading this one, even though I knew I would have to get up at 6:00.

    The very idea of Aztecs in space is making me realize how lame SMS is. Possibly it's for the best that I haven't had energy to work on it since becoming a productive member of society anyway. :(

    Re: Thomas Harlan by Jim (Fri Jun 18 16:47:34 2004)

    This may be the start of his 2nd series. Which, according to a frequent proofreader of his (Mel), is noticably better.

    Aztecs in Spaaaaace! by Carl (Sun Jun 20 02:39:39 2004)

    There was a giant robot game called Mecha that had a supplement called Spirit Warrior Empire or something like that, whose premise was aliens recruiting Aztecs to serve as the pilots for their giant robot armies of doom. I forget whether they had giant robots playing the hoop game of doom, but the setting seemed pretty cool.

    Perhaps one of the Space Aztecs could be an exchange student in SMS. :-) After all, what's better to fight cthulhoid horrors with than giant obsidian-edged robots? With laser eyes and missile fingers!

    And could that island have been the one where they airdopped hundreds of bits of Ick! to see what would happen?

    Make a comment!

    16 June 2004 - Wednesday

    Bah. Leaving work half an hour earlier and catching that train isn't actually very useful, because that's one of the trains that doesn't stop at San Antonio. This is especially unuseful when one wants to be on Rengstorff.

    Hopefully all those empty spots on the shelves at Lee's weren't anything I wanted anyway.

    Make a comment!

    15 June 2004 - Tuesday

    Still not dead!

    * * *

    No Millbrae today; I think I should wow the client some more before trying to get Tuesday afternoons off.

    * * *

    Apparently the guy I'm working with (Ravi is his name) thinks I'm pretty good. Sometimes weird, but competently weird.

    Go me!

    * * *

    The perl script now passes perl -cw with no warnings! Of course, I can't test whether it does what I want until we're given a test environment, but still, it's like progress.

    * * *

    We finished Hellsing tonight. Now that I have seen the whole thing, I can be sure that although there are some cool bits (mostly involving Arucard monstering out), overall the main characters are just too stupid for the show to be interesting.

    Apparently we have run out of the good part of Card Captor Sakura. Neil is going to try to get Stacy to assemble the few important bits from the mass of padding that is the rest of second season. If he fails, we will just watch the second movie.

    * * *

    What is this concept you Terrans refer to as 'bedtime'?

    Perl warnings by Jeremy (Wed Jun 16 19:51:12 2004)

    Perl -cw. Huh. Four years of using Perl now, and it never once occurred to me to put the flags in that order.

    That's just disturbingly Freudian. I'm going to go think about something else now.

    Congratulations on finding work! Although I just completely sneer at your concept of an early morning.

    Re: Perl warnings by Trip (Thu Jun 17 08:11:24 2004)

    You're just jealous because I'm smart enough to only create fictional people.

    Make a comment!

    14 June 2004 - Monday

    I didn't pay too much for lack of sleep, which I'm sure just means the debt is deferred.

    * * *

    Work remains work-like. I wrote most of a perl script to do the thing that we need done, although it needs ancillary files and of course testing.

    * * *

    No Paradise Mislaid tonight, because the Bertanis are sacrificing more of their lives to the dream of the mortgaged single-family detached dwelling.

    * * *

    Part of my problem with LC might be that I am trying to make it a real game. If I gave up on that, I could go with something simple and goofy like Pendragon-style personality traits. I don't want to give up, though.

    * * *

    GreenCine says they're sending me the second disc of Neo Ranga, so I finished the first one tonight. It is somehow both kind of slow-moving and kind of choppy (major plot points happen in the gaps between episodes, with only the aftereffects shown on-screen), but I still like it. There's a lot to be said for a mecha (kinda) show in which the greatest enemy is public opinion and paparazzi.

    Make a comment!

    13 June 2004 - Sunday

    Instead of getting up, I read all of Deathstalker Rebellion, which was of similar quality to the first. Now I must do laundry and stuff, to be ready to go to gaming at 17:00.

    * * *

    Because Ayse is much smarter than I am, she figured out about the birds, so now we only have to fight the druid or hag or dryad or whatever that has come to punish us for freeing one of the villagers she captured.

    * * *

    Argh, stayed up way way too late playing KoL. I will undoubtedly pay later.

    Make a comment!

    12 June 2004 - Saturday

    It being an actual weekend, instead of just Saturday, I slept in! And I was possibly even justified in doing so! Eventually I got up, though, and then I went to Chef Chu's to have lunch.

    Today's fortune: "You will have good luck and overcome many hardships." (Ew, hardships!)

    While eating lunch, I finished Deathstalker by Simon R Green, the first of several books that can only be described as pulp. It was pretty entertaining, though, and reminded me a lot of Carl's Shatterzone game. Also somewhat of Fading Suns, enough to make me speculate on a causal connection.

    * * *

    Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko was not a great hit with anyone except Ayse, so I have left her the DVD to watch on her own. There does not seem to be agreement on what to watch instead, because no one wants to have an opinion. More discussion is necessary.

    Feeling anime-deprived, I watched the first four (15-minute) episodes of Neo-Ranga when I got home. It was interesting, although I'm not entirely sure where they're going with it. I will have to watch more!

    Anime to watch by Carl (Tue Jun 15 19:55:36 2004)

    You may have already seen all these, but tengel on Greencine has this list of anime he would buy again to which I added this list of recommendations.

    Gad Guard Volume 1, Kaleido Star 2, and Infinite Ryvius 5 should be out this week, and Kaze no Yojimbo 2 came out last week.

    How about Cardcaptor Sakura (not to be confused with Cardcaptors!) or Rurouni Kenshin, which have the virtue of being very very long and thus should last a while. Or if you could just bring yourself to like Dragonball in all its infinite permutations, you'd never run short of anime again! After all, its based on Journey to the West, just like Saiyuki. For some value of "just like", anyway.

    And I can only approve of any SF book in which the protagonists wake up in a jail cell with a hungry lizardman prince wearing a hawaiian shirt. Or perhaps you meant some other aspect of it.

    Tag closing by Carl (Tue Jun 15 19:56:53 2004)

    Or you could spend the time adding a editing feature to your blog comments! :-)

    Re: Anime tags to close by Trip (Tue Jun 15 22:46:07 2004)

    What would be the fun of that?

    I have been watching Rurouni Kenshi with Marith as we get hold of it, and Card Captor Sakura is currently being shown at Ray's. I already plan to have GreenCine send me Kaleido Star, which I don't like quite enough to buy. The ads for Infinite Ryvius looked somewhat interesting, so now that it has an actual recommendation, I'll have to look into it. Never heard of Gad Guard or Kaze no Yojimbo.

    So far, no one in the Deathstalker books has actually woken up in a jail cell with a hungry lizardman prince wearing a Hawaiian shirt, but it wouldn't deeply surprise me to encounter such a scene.

    Tag! by Carl (Wed Jun 16 18:59:41 2004)

    I liked Kaze no Yojimbo a lot, but haven't decided whether to buy it yet. I'm wibbling, but given my weakness for all things Yojimbo, I'll probably end up getting it. Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran volume 1 was really fun, and if the rest is as fun I'll likely buy it. Lady Meow of the Iron Cat Fist is especially amusing. Infinite Ryvius has more whining that I like in my anime, but volume 5 clarifies the mysteries a bit, and it's probably inevitable that if you have hundreds of teenagers in that situation there will be whining and angst. Freaks & Geeks is very good, although not anime, and I note that the HBO series Dead Like Me is also now out on DVD. Oh, and so is Jonny Quest!

    Now, if Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys would just come out on DVD...

    Make a comment!

    11 June 2004 - Friday

    Tangent: since I do each day as a post of its own, editing as needed, what should I do when I remember something which belongs in a previous day? If I just go back and edit it in, no one will see it, but it didn't happen in the current day... Maybe I need to free myself from the straitjacket of linear chronology.

    Anyway, the fan mail about SCOOS made me think more about Lovecraft Country, but not very usefully. I can't even figure out where in the Gamist-Simulationist-Narrativist space I want to be. Whine!

    Cards. Cards would be good. Put each skill/stat/whatever with all appropriate rules on a card, and your character sheet can be swept up into a neat, easily transportable pile. (I blame 20'x20' Room for this idea.) I also like the idea of a deck of cards saying things like "Equipment failure: -4 if you're doing something that relies on equipment, -2 if you're doing something that only uses equipment" (only more coherent) for the GM to draw instead of rolling dice.

    This, however, is only superficial and does not address the important issue of what I want this game to do. TFOS x Mythos is easy (since I've already done it), but doesn't have much to contribute beyond smushing the sources together.

    If I knew what I wanted a typical session of LC to be like, I would be halfway there, but I don't, and approaching it from various angles (What sorts of options would I like to give the PCs? What kinds of behavior should I reward?) isn't helping much.

    This is probably because I am, fundamentally, a bad game designer. Fooey.

    * * *

    My verbal cow-orker and I may have compromised on IM. :)

    * * *

    Wow, cygwin takes a really long time to download. I wonder if it will successfully resume downloading when I bring my laptop out of hibernation on Monday? If not, perhaps I'll just download the part that has vi.

    * * *

    Woot! Dancegronk has made 7th level, so has a clan: Canned Coelecanths. Anyone who reads this page and plays KoL is welcome to join; you might want to send Dancegronk a message so I know who it is that's applying.

    Almost as big a woot, since I've been poking at it for a while, is Kithug's vanquishment of the Orc Chasm quest! And he also got the extra bonus prize, which is free access to the Hermit! Now I just need to figure out what the heck the Hermit's stuff is good for...

    In fact, I think that may be the next important thing, since I seem to have quested out everyplace else I can get to. I can still get xp and loot, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere. The Hey Deze map quest is still open, but I need at least two more items for it, and no idea where to get them. (They're in the clan stash, but that seems like cheating, so I won't use that unless I get really really frustrated.)

    * * *

    Yay! Because it is Friday, I still had time to watch anime after using up all my KoL turns!

    The Angel Sanctuary OAVs end just as it looks like the story is getting good! Hmph! I hope the manga continues beyond that point!

    Also, too much violence, not enough sex. But otherwise good.

    LC! by Ayse (Fri Jun 11 19:35:46 2004)

    Maybe you've reached the point where you need to start doing something concrete, as it were? Like try running a sample X (combat? scene?) and seeing what develops?

    Re: LC! by Trip (Fri Jun 11 20:29:21 2004)

    Yah, maybe. Although I'm not sure what Xes should be in LC! And in principle, knowing how to make characters implies a lot of the rest of everything. Wum.

    Make a comment!

    10 June 2004 - Thursday

    Argh, 6:00 is too early to get up. But it is, by my calculations, when I must arise in order to get to work by 8:00. I'm sure I'll get used to it, or at least numb to it, soon.

    * * *

    Okay, I need to do something about lunch, since Corio has no cafeteria. There is a Burger King back down the road a ways, but it's an unpleasant fraction of the distance back to the train station, which is a lot like Too Much Walking. Perhaps it is time to search Trader Joe's for imperishable yet microwaveable food. Does such a thing even exist?

    * * *

    I sense future discord. See, I think best (not that that's saying much) by writing. However, the person I have to work with on this project thinks best by talking. Since he's in Arizona, this means talking on the phone. You all know what I think of phones.

    On the other hand, he is at least a nice guy, so probably no one will have to be rent limb from limb or anything.

    I really miss vi, sigh.

    * * *

    Ack, more SCOOS fanmail! Someone is even running a play-by-web-message-board game on rpg.net!

    * * *

    That was a much less traumatic commute, especially since I found the secret path that cuts out a couple hundred meters of wasted road-following.

    * * *

    Muahahahahahaha! Dancegronk has a bartender-in-a-box and Vermicioulli has a chef-in-a-box, so they can make their respective goodies without expending any adventures! All power is mine!

    * * *

    And Vermicioulli makes 7th level! New clan: "Our Planet". You know if you should belong.

    Hm, I seemed to have used the time allocated for watching anime on KoL. Ah well.

    vi! vi! ok! by Ayse (Fri Jun 11 12:34:15 2004)

    If you miss vi because you're on a windows laptop, download cygwin!

    gvim for windows by Bruce (Fri Jun 11 15:09:14 2004)

    Or just download gvim for windows: http://www.vim.org/download.php#pc

    Of course Cygwin is cool for other reasons.

    vi! vi! ok! by Trip (Fri Jun 11 20:27:54 2004)

    Wow, cygwin is big. If the download doesn't resume when I bring my laptop out of hibernation on Monday, perhaps I will try downloading just the vi part...

    But thank you both!

    Make a comment!

    9 June 2004 - Wednesday

    Since I had a few spare minutes between getting up and going off to the train, I played KoL! But only a little, really! Dancegronk's hellion cubes sold for egregious money at the flea market, so he was able to get both the skill that makes monsters drop items more often and the skill to recover some hit points. Also, I figured out how to process the horrible pun to extract the solution from it, and now Kithug can frolic in the lands beyond the Orc Chasm. Woot!

    * * *

    I asked transitinfo.org how to get to work by 9:45, and it gave me some wacky scheme involving riding the bus all the way up to Menlo Park before catching the train. "That's stupid," I said to myself. "I could just go to the train station right down the street to catch a train."

    No, I couldn't. Caltrain has the annoying habit of randomly not stopping at certain stations on certain runs, and the run that passes through San Antonio station just after 9:00 is one of those. Bah. Taxi for me. Expensive, but showing up late would be lame.

    * * *

    Well, I guess it's good that Taos has issued me a laptop, since Corio doesn't seem to have many desktops to spare. On the other hand, ew, I think I got some Microsoft on my productivity!

    I fear the multi-hundred-line shell script that creates other shell scripts (some of which, I think, beget yet a third generation). But it apparently works quite well, so I don't mock it. (In fact, I think it mocks me, with its error-checking pants.)

    * * *

    As I was hiking from Corio back to civilization, I was saying to myself, "Worst. Location. EVER." and resolving to complain to my staff manager, because I thought that not only did I have to cross the freeway, but then I would have to catch a bus that runs very infrequently for a small part of the day. However, it turns out that the Caltrain station is only about two blocks farther on the same street that overpasses the freeway, so I don't know why transitinfo.org was babbling about busses. It took about 45 minutes, but some of that was casting about for ways to cross the freeway that didn't involve swimming, so I will have to try again tomorrow and see how long it really takes.

    Commuting not on bus or train is sad, because it means no reading, but on the other tentacle, exercise is good.

    * * *

    By the time I finished spazzing around with the commute back to MV, I was in the part of the day where busses run less frequently and too dead (oof, backpack and laptop) to walk long distances, so going to Lee's took quite a long time and didn't even yield anything that great. In fact, I celebrated having a job to support my comics habit by spending less than half what I do in a typical week. Sheesh.

    * * *

    Argh! I spent the time from about 20:15 to 21:45 doinking around with KoL, which means I missed the chance for all of my characters to drink themselves unconscious and then refresh to 0 drunkenness! O, the waste!

    But at least Kithug is level 9 now. And that seemed so mighty when I was a miserable little 4th level spud looking up at Gretchen's characters...

    * * *

    Random gaming thought. But one that may be of use to me.

    train by mony (Wed Jun 9 11:44:33 2004)

    I though they decomissioned the San Antonio station?

    Re: train by Jim (Wed Jun 9 12:59:11 2004)

    The San Antonio station was created in 1999 by The Crossings townhome/condo complex. The Rengstorff station was decommissioned (effectively moved north a half mile to San Antonio).

    ah! by mony (Wed Jun 9 16:14:31 2004)

    I knew something had happened somewhere to some station! :) Now I remember the San Antonio station.

    Make a comment!

    8 June 2004 - Tuesday

    That was sort of like getting up early, I guess. Fortunately I won't have to be at work until 10:00 tomorrow.

    * * *

    Woot! Vermicioulli is up to level 6 (Thyme Wizard) and can make Scrumptious Reagent! Clan leadership is not far away!

    Dancegronk is still a point away from level 6, and although he has all the parts for the Deep Fat Friars' quest, a php bug (first one I've seen) prevented him from accomplishing it. Sad disco bandit.

    Selling stuff at the flea market seems to be an excellent way to get huge piles of meat. I just hope I don't turn out to need any of it later. Well, at this point it's all stuff that can be fairly easily replaced.

    * * *

    Marith and I finally went to lunch with Angie, after trying to plan it for many weeks. You will all be pleased to hear that Angie is not dead ( although she is sick). I contributed little to the conversation, but I ravaged the Volcano Duck mercilessly.

    Angie gave me a Diana Wynne Jones book I didn't have! It is a very short book for small kids, but I am happy to support DWJ anyway.

    * * *

    Kithug is drawing closer to 9th level, although he didn't really accomplish any particular goals today. Oh, except crafting a linoleum sword, which is even now seeking a buyer in the flea market, and getting a cocoabo familiar, which is even cuter than you think it is. (But not really an accomplishment, considering he got the egg out of the clan stash.)

    * * *

    Well, now I know where to go tomorrow. Sadly, the transitinfo.org map makes it look like Corio's office is on the median of the 101, so I guess I'll have to hunt around when I get there.

    * * *

    Tiny, miniscule, pathetic work on SMS. I need to work harder on this, but I have been vacant for the past er while. Especially since about last Thursday.

    * * *

    Failed to pillage Gamescape, sniff.

    * * *

    Neil, Stacy, and CZR all bailed on anime, but Ray knows who his friends are, so Dave and I got anime anyway. Hah!

    Apparently it was the first Card Captor Sakura movie I saw, not the second as I had for some reason believed.

    Dave admits that Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi makes more sense as it goes along, so I am vindicated. Or something.

    * * *

    Perhaps I shouldn't have spent another 45 minutes playing KoL, but at least Dancegronk and Vermicioulli are now both 6th level, have both completed the Deep Fat Friars' quest, and both have Evil Golden Arches to mine for flea market fodder.

    Sadly, the horrible pun that I thought was the key to the Orc Chasm isn't, at least not in its current form. It should be relevent, though. Hmph.

    * * *

    Augh! Work tomorrow! AUGH!

    Make a comment!

    7 June 2004 - Monday

    Bah, stupid alarm clock that doesn't turn itself back on when I change the alarm setting.

    But I did make it to Taos in time to fill out an actually not unreasonable amount of paperwork, and ogle say hi to Christine before she was eaten by work.

    Still not sure about the when/where/who/how/what of starting work on Wednesday (AUGH! I HAVE TO WORK! AUGH!), but at least I am assured that the Taos person in charge has acknowledged her responsibility to tell me.

    * * *

    Yum, red curry duck!

    * * *

    In lieu of a proper review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I offer you a link to a somewhat improper summary.

    * * *

    Second disc of Rayearth, in which monstrous monsters are crushed, but the plot is only slightly advanced.

    * * *

    Went to bed at a reasonable hour for a change. Wacky.

    monkeys, of course! by Ayse (Tue Jun 8 09:27:27 2004)

    Yay Taos information!

    I'm sorry there was a lack of communication on our part last night. :(

    Re: monkeys, of course! by Trip (Tue Jun 8 15:43:19 2004)

    That's okay. But we should find some time to watch SGYY!

    Make a comment!

    6 June 2004 - Sunday

    This time I did get up in time to do laundry before gaming stuff, but some rat bastard opened my drier and let the timer run out or something, so many of my clothes did not dry as they should have. Grrr.

    * * *

    Adam was sick all last week and couldn't prepare his adventure as well as he thought it deserved, and Jeremy and Earl bailed like the wusses they are, so we punted on Home Front and played Roborally. Dave crushed us like the insects we are.

    Dave doesn't watch movies, but the rest of us do, so Chrisber went to get Christy while Adam and I went to get tickets (not that there turned out to be much of a line) and we saw the latest Harry Potter movie.

    It was pretty good! The main characters, who are all now 13, acted like teenagers, the essentials of the plot were retained, and the hippogriff was quite fine. Emma Watson is still only a cutie, but might develop into a babe by the next movie.

    On the way out, we ran into Jimweasel and Mel, who were standing in the pretty long line for the 19:00 showing. It seems we chose wisely!

    * * *

    Vermicioulli is getting to cook to his weird little heart's content, or nearly so, but Dancegronk is not doing so well with the boozing; I think I need to stock up more on fermenting powder.

    Notes to self: spend 2500 to get the dinghy plans; look in Fernswarthy's Tower for stuff to go with the lihc face.

    Make a comment!

    5 June 2004 - Saturday

    I meant to do laundry before going off to do things, but failed. Oops.

    * * *

    Because my brain is small and narrow, I only got five books at the library book sale. Still, two of them are sort of like research for Library Superheroes.

    There was some spazzing around, but not too much, so we departed in a timely fashion. On the other hand, it was very hot, there were five people in the car, and traffic sucked, so it wasn't really the best expedition we've ever undertaken.

    Ayse and I got hungry halfway there, so we made Ken drive through an In'n'Out and let us buy burgers. I now understand about In'n'Out, to which I had not previously been exposed!

    Late as traffic made us, it made Harold and his sweetie Chris later, so we had some vague sort of moral high ground. This was not enough to make gaming start before 15:00, however. :(

    Amazon Quintet of Justice VIId: "The Road Ahead!"

    Nothing is waiting to ambush the Quintet when they emerge from their camping dimension, so they make their way out of the temple complex. When they pass one point near the exit, the roof of the complex disappears, along with the entire bulk of the hill above that point. This is confusing, but not as alarming as the vulture-demon and squad of undead lurking just outside.

    Having handily defeated the first hit squad, the Amazons head back for Tigris. Gabrielle experiments with her new harp, which clearly does something, but no one can tell quite what.

    That evening, as Amaryllis is standing watch, shadowy forms rise up out of the earth and attack! Amaryllis dupes the vampire who thinks it is mind-controlling her and gets all the undead grouped to fit within a cone of cold, which is a good start to the fight that then breaks out. Most of the Amazons are afflicted by various evil powers, but the undead are nevertheless defeated, and Fresa fixes everyone up.

    That seems to be the last of this batch of monsters, and Our Heroines reach Tigris without further incident.

    In their absence, alas, Hrogarth has been spreading word about the coming Armageddon and generally rousing the rabble, which doesn't much please the rulers of the city. Hrogarth, in turn, is displeased by the Amazons not handing over the harp; what kind of feeble excuse is "We have to save the world" anyway?

    Dwayne reports to Alyra that the existing power blocs in the city are not inclined to support any wars. Since Avalon's previous troubles were a direct result of its allies abandoning it, this is probably a bad sign.

    Princess Lisbet sends a maid to bring Amaryllis, Alyra, and Marika to a secret midnight meeting, where she expresses her support for saving world. After some discussion, the plan formed is for Lisbet to stay in Tigris, alert for opportunities to lobby her siblings, while the Amazons travel to the four other remnant kingdoms of Avalon's allies, gathering the remaining artifacts and trying to drum up support. Lisbet gives them letters of introduction to people she believes will be sympathetic, and agrees to host the gathering of emissaries from kingdoms that favor saving the world.

    * * *

    That is about as far as we got, between starting way late and having to dissolve into a mass of still-born dinner plans. We ended up with Chinese delivery instead of sit-down at Claim Jumpers, sniff.

    This Chris person seems to be okay. We are tentatively prepared to let Harold keep her.

    Ken may have sucked Al into Exalted. I suppose I will have to die in a deep deep pit.

    * * *

    To no one's great surprise, I stayed up after we got home to play more KoL. Kithug finally got all the parts of the pirate disguise, and managed to hork a lot of meat from the pirates, but they got him so drunk he passed out with quite a few adventures unspent. Well, it's not like they disappear, at least not quickly.

    I have made one of the items required for the Hey Deze map quest, but I don't know where to get the components for the others. Still no idea on the Orc Chasm.

    Exalted and pits by Ken (Sun Jun 6 22:46:12 2004)

    Why would you have to die in a pit because I sucked Al into Exalted? Hopefully you won't, since I'm counting on you to be the person in the game who knows the game at all...

    Re: Exalted and pits by Trip (Mon Jun 7 16:52:26 2004)

    But I don't know the system! Or I don't want to know it, or something.

    Make a comment!

    4 June 2004 - Friday

    Tried to get up early to be ready for Taos to call, almost succeeded. Then they didn't call.

    * * *

    Dancegronk is now level 5 as well! Soon, soon a new clan!

    Kithug is 8th level! Woot! And, he has slain the bonerdagon in the cyrpt next to the Mispelled Cemetery, getting huge piles of stat points and meat! Now he's working on the Hey Deze map quest, which seems to involve beating the snot out of pirates, and peering at the Orc Chasm quest, which looks like it needs either a bridge or an aircraft.

    * * *

    Taos now says they'll call me at 14:00 to prep me for the phone interview with the client at 14:45. Wum. Jitter. Wum.

    * * *

    Well, it's 14:30 and they haven't called. I wonder if the interview will still happen in fifteen minutes.

    Hm, bat wings plus meat engine doesn't seem to equal ornithopter. That's sad.

    * * *

    The phone thing got all worked out somehow, and I didn't sound like a complete blithering moron, so perhaps it will be okay.

    Back to er pretending to think about gaming but really reading manga.

    * * *

    And working on SMS, but only very slowly.

    * * *

    WOOT! I am now (tentatively) a productive member of society! Not nearly as productive as I had hoped, but certainly more than I am making now!

    I start Wednesday morning, apparently. Precise details to be communicated later.

    Now I think I'll go pillage Gamescape. :)

    WOOT!

    * * *

    When I take over this planet, Ken will be permitted to cook for me.

    * * *

    The second disc of Azumanga Daioh is just as surreal as the first, or maybe more so. Also, it made me want to pick Sakaki up and cuddle her about five times an episode.

    The cat creature went "wumwumwum"! No, really!

    * * *

    Dancegronk and Vermicioulli are now both 5th level, and have their respective hats from the Dark and Dank and Sinister Cave. Dancegronk even successfully made some cocktails!

    Wednesday! by Silkie (Fri Jun 4 22:48:30 2004)

    Woot! Woot! Woot!

    Job things by Sarah (Sat Jun 5 09:35:43 2004)

    YAY Tripemployment! Yay!

    WOOT! by kit (Sat Jun 5 10:24:16 2004)

    YAY TRIP! Yaaaaaaay! beam

    WOOT! by Lynx (Mon Jun 7 10:32:04 2004)

    Congratulations! And it sounds like you guys have been MUDding or something?

    Re: WOOT! by Trip (Mon Jun 7 16:57:07 2004)

    Yay me! And everyone should play Kingdom of Loathing!

    Make a comment!

    3 June 2004 - Thursday

    Hm. I seem to have come up with an anime campaign for Everway, tentatively titled Dream Privateers. Okay, few if any campaigns really need a specific system, but the elemental thing works really well, and has the beneficial side effect of limiting the number of PCs. (Observe me trying, in my clumsy and ultimately pathetic way, to learn from the mistakes of Knights of Atlantis.)

    For no particular reason, Revolutionary Mithril Angel seems to want three PCs, but I don't think that means I should use Tri-Stat, and anyway that could change if I ever figure out more of what it's about.

    After the last Home Front session, it's not clear to me why I'm thinking about GMing at all, but I have to think about something while falling asleep, and, well, why not think about nubile anime girls?

    I suppose that before screwing up any other games, though, I need to commit Library Superheroes. Oh! Right! Just a sec while I check GreenCine for Read or Die TV series.

    . . .

    Nope, just the OAVs. Ah well. Anyway, as I was saying, Library Superheroes is at the head of the queue for new games. If only I could come up with a good plot...

    But at least I have come up with a good explanation for why Marith's Reference Librarian is not a valid PC (other than that powers like that induce convulsions in the few GMs who don't keel over immediately). It goes like this:

    Suppose that the British Secret Library Engineering Service has, on the deepest level of its hidden subterranean headquarters, an armor-ceramic box lined with lead and sheathed in mu-metal.

    If you put someone like The Paper or Miss Deep in the box, she is very safe, but completely useless. On the other hand, the same powers that make her a useful field agent make her fairly safe outside the box, and letting her live as normal a life as she can or wants to is bound to be good for morale. So, you could easily make a case for letting her run around loose (with maybe a couple of agents to follow her around and run background checks on anyone she hangs out with). The practical and hard-headed government agency would probably keep her in the box between missions, but that's how you tell them from the Good Guys.

    However, in this modern age of encrypted satellite links, Reference Librarian loses only a tiny fraction of her enormous strategic utility when she's in the box, and because her powers don't let her fend off so much as a teenage punk with a switchblade, never mind giant insects, the gain in safety is tremendous. Even the Good Guys would be hard-pressed to not keep her in the box, albeit with good working hours, full benefits, and all the creature comforts she wants ("Today's question is: how can we best increase our budget?"). For morale reasons, you might have to let her out occasionally, but you're going to surround her with bodyguards ("You're a celebrity, dear. Just a very obscure one."), and definitely not let her near any supervillains.

    Does this make sense, Marith? More to the point, does it seem reasonable enough that you don't think I'm contriving reasons to step on your character ideas?

    Okay, that's enough blithering for now! Time to get ready to get new comics!

    * * *

    Yay! Azumanga Daioh disc 2!

    I had to skip my usual lunch burrito, though, since I got such an early start that I arrived at the burrito joint right at noon, when the line was longer than a pretty long thing. Oh well. I probably shouldn't be spending extra money on food anyway. (Never mind how much I just spent on comics and anime. Hush.)

    * * *

    My ph4t l3wt5 from Amazon finally arrived! Despite having claimed they would ship individually, Amazon shipped them all in one box, which is fine by me. Now I can fondle my ill-gotten gains all at once!

    * * *

    WOOT! DOUBLE WOOT! Taos has already called about someone they want to pimp me to! I'll have to fake the Oracle familiarity, but my perl fu is strong, and I can write working shell scripts. They're trying to set up a phone interview with the client for later this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Cross tentacles!

    * * *

    My space parasite picture is now framed as well! It's just another cheapo frame for Target, but it should protect against most of the traumas physical objects are subject to.

    No response to my incoherently-raving fanmail yet.

    * * *

    Yay! Kithug has reached 7th level! He is now a Narwhal Pummeler! Also, he has a boat with which to go and beat up pirates.

    * * *

    No phone interview today. Phone interview tomorrow, I guess.

    * * *

    Marith came over and helped me watch the first disc of Magic Knights Rayearth. Unless someone else wants to watch it in the very immediate future, I will send it back to GreenCine so they will send me new and different anime!

    Any time I see the stereotypical sort of female anime character who leaps into a fight before the sides have even been fully explained, I think of Angie.

    * * *

    Bah. Vermicioulli spent almost all of his 40 adventures rummaging about the Haunted Pantry for some fairy gravy to get past a lavatory troll standing between him and his nemesis in the Deep and Dark and Dank Cave, to no avail. He finally had to swap Dancegronk a valuable trinket for some gravy, since there wasn't even any in the flea market. At least he's level 5 now.

    interview! by kit! (Thu Jun 3 22:40:21 2004)

    yay! good luck!

    interview! by mony (Fri Jun 4 06:02:55 2004)

    Trip is the awesomest and Toas knows that! :)

    Good titles by Carl (Sun Jun 6 03:19:20 2004)

    Both Dream Privateers and Revolutionary Mithril Angel are excellent titles.

    It's wrong to think of Sakaki meeting Velcro, right?

    And congratulations on the Taos job! Do your best to eat their brains!

    Re: Good titles by Trip (Sun Jun 6 20:55:54 2004)

    Thanks! Now I just need good campaigns to go with them! And, you know, players.

    I think the grey biting cat is the moral equivalent of Velcro, so Sakaki doesn't need to be subjected to that any more!

    wumwumwum the commercial entity wum designated 'Taos' wum will nourish the great work wumwumwum

    hey! *^_^* by Angie (Fri Jun 11 17:37:11 2004)

    Any time I see the stereotypical sort of female anime character who leaps into a fight before the sides have even been fully explained, I think of Angie.

    Hmph. I can't really refute this, and am laughing and blushing madly, but hmph, all the same. o.O

    Re: hey! by Trip (Fri Jun 11 21:48:31 2004)

    Maybe I just still hold your not liking Ifurita against you!

    Make a comment!

    2 June 2004 - Wednesday

    Not much KoL this morning, because I had to scuttle off quickly to Santa Clara to interview at Taos! Well, semi-interview, since they to some degree already know I am a profitable and nontroublemaking employee.

    Either I was young and had no taste seven years ago, or my memory is just bad, but I was surprised at what a babe Christine is. Not that it matters, since she's beringèd.

    Anyway, I think the technical interview went okay. There were lots of things I didn't know, but I didn't know them last time I worked for Taos either, so obviously they're not crucial.

    I am Hopeful, but I have learned from the Google failure, so I am also mellow.

    * * *

    Today's alien experiment brownies: hazelnut-orange, with extra unsweetened chocolate lumps. It seemed to go okay, although I think these were not as closely aligned with the vertebrate perceptual systems as some previous runs.

    Also, we killed and cremated the sabertooth broo's buddies, got healed of broo-itis, agreed to go in search of giants with the crazed young Lankhar My priest1, and got chased by a creepy walking tree. Oh, and determined that this year's Great Hunter is a running-pig2 lackey of the Lunar imperialists. Stupid Blue Bear clan.

    1: He stole a grenade from the dwarves, which is pretty crazed even for a Lankhar My priest.

    2: "Dog" isn't an insult to Balazarings, even in the current unenlightened age prior to Dobromil's apotheosis.

    * * *

    The stuff I ordered from Amazon last week isn't here yet, but the stuff GreenCine shipped yesterday is, so I have anime!

    * * *

    People kept suggesting it, so I have framed my first rejection slip. It's not on the wall (got no nails) but it is on the table by the front door where visitors can see it.

    * * *

    Yay! The original space parasite picture from Ursula has arrived! I will have get another frame to properly display it!

    Ursula is great! I must compose fan mail!

    * * *

    Woot! Vermicioulli has completed the boss bat quest, so now I know how to get my other characters through it! (Thanks to Gretchen, who gave me the key piece of information.)

    Christine! by Ayse (Thu Jun 3 00:34:59 2004)

    Tell Christine hi for me! She took me out to sushi for finding so many sysadmins for her way way way back when....

    (And I don't recall her being much of a babe either.)

    Make a comment!

    1 June 2004 - Tuesday

    HAPPY HAPPY KITDAY!!!

    (Kit gets underlining because she makes me write.)

    * * *

    Today's KoL news: Dancegronk has a cocktailcrafting kit! Alas, even with the Moxious skill of getting monsters to drop more meat, it took him all day to save up for it, so he hasn't been able to use it. Vermicioulli doesn't have that skill, so is taking longer to save up for an E-Z-Bake Oven, but eventually will be producing food items.

    Kithug has finished the Deep Fat Friars' quest and the Typical Tavern rat-exterminating quest. These turn out to synergize nicely, since the DFFriars teach Steel Liver Technique, and once the Tavern was open for business again, three visits got me a dozen Drunkenness but also over a hundred Strengthliness. Woot!

    Still not sure how to do the bat quest: neither of the two digging implements I borrowed from the clan stash got through the blocked passages. I might need to hang out in the Itznotyourzitz Mine enough to get dynamite or something.

    Anyway, go me! All three of me!

    * * *

    Woot! The Writer's Weekend person has confirmed that my submission was received and passed on to judges! After hearing the story of Christy's first-chapter-and-submission critique experience at Bay(?)con, I am eager to find out what is said about SMS when it undergoes a similar process.

    Mind you, what will said will probably be functionally indistinguishable from "Jeez, you perv! And learn to write!", but I'm looking forward to it anyway. :)

    * * *

    Double woot! It turns out that Taos was slow getting back to me because they only had one recruiter, but they just hired another one, who happens to be the one I talked to when I originally joined Taos back in the mists of time! And, she is a writer! So this is all very cool, and tomorrow I will go in and persuade Taos that I am l33t and then I will have a job and everything will be swell! Or something like that.

    * * *

    Between determining that Gamescape has nothing that is both new and good and running off to anime, I went through another bit of SMS and lowered its falutin'. Hopefully this will not turn out to have been a dreadful mistake.

    * * *

    Indeed, now that the USPS is working again, GreenCine has shipped me three DVDs. So that is all good too.

    kitday whcha! by kit (Tue Jun 1 11:00:44 2004)

    Thank you! Whcha! Write write write! hugs! :)

    Re: kitday whcha! by Trip (Tue Jun 1 14:54:32 2004)

    Does confirming with WW that my submission got there and is being judged and all count as doing writing stuff? O--.--O <-- big cute eyestalks

    Re: kitday whcha! by kit (Wed Jun 2 09:36:14 2004)

    No, but you get some kind of points for having talked to Taos, and I hope that goes well! Good luck, l33tTrip!

    lowfalutin' writing! by marith (Wed Jun 2 22:28:20 2004)

    Yay revisions! Double yay submissions arriving! TRIPLE YAY Taos! Woot!

    Make a comment!

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