Previously, in Trip's Life...

28 February 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: Of course I didn't use even half the material I prepared, but that's okay. The PCs considered a moral dilemma, fought off earth elementals, made it most of the way to their destination, and killed some surprised but unexpectedly tough rampaging gnolls. Next session: more fighting! Also perhaps 9th level!

Visual Entertainments: Why is there only one episode on the last disc of Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki? Oh, there's some sort of live action special thing. Meh. Maybe I'll watch it later.

Cats: Suddenly, Marmalade is super-purry-snuggle-cat!

Writing: Unending FAIL.

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27 February 2010 - Saturday

Gaming: Oh, those monsters would work much better! I should scan them instead!

Then Ken lured Marith and I to play Dominion, and crushed us like insects with his Chapel-based strategy. I bought a Smithy right off, but then when it got me eight money in one round, I bought a Province instead of buying a Gold like a sensible person, so I came in last by a huge margin (Marith second, Ayse third). Bah. I am fail.

Textual Entertainments: Skin Hunger, by Kathleen Duey, is the first book in her YA "Resurrection of Magic" series, which follows the parallel plotlines of a teenage boy learning magic from a mysterious and sadistic cabal of mages and a teenage girl who falls in with the researchers into lost magic who will someday become the horrible mages of the academy. It ends without resolving much of anything, so I'll have to pick up the second one.

Cats: Super-purry Marmasnuggles FTW!

Writing: Even more FAIL.

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26 February 2010 - Friday

Work: All-hands meeting, about future directions in marketing. Okay, that all seems reasonable. Everyone should give Aster Data money, so they can give it to me.

Lamed on the TGIF party. Bleah, beer. Beer scent is not like fluffy kitties.

But, I got paid! Yay!

Gaming: Scanningu scanningu la la la.

Cats: Ghirardelli attacks the shoelace, but he is not Mighty vs String like Marmalade!

Writing: Additional FAIL.

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25 February 2010 - Thursday

Work: Someday perhaps someone will have time to train me!

Textual Entertainments: Sky Coyote is the second book in the late Kage Baker's "Company" series. It's told from the PoV of a character who was secondary in the first book, who seems able to watch the plot thicken without feeling the need to do anything about it. I suspect he will not be able to hold off for five more books, though!

Bonus points for the anti-othering of the Chumash.

Visual Entertainments: Finished the second disc of Tenchy Myuo Rho-Ohki. That episode did not follow from the previous one, but I guess the ending makes it okay.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: FAIL.

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24 February 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Gack, another interview!

Interviewing is hard, let's build an army of robot minions.

Also, team meeting at 21:30 at night, bleah. I'm sure the people in India are swell, and I can certainly see the advantage of having part of the team offset 12 hours, but still bleah.

Perfidy of Life: Stupid economy, making busses run less often when they were already marginal!

Cats: So fuzzy! And also helpful during conference calls!

Writing: FAIL.

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23 February 2010 - Tuesday

Work: A new Support guy started today, so I'm no longer the biggest n00b! (I'm stilly pretty n00bish and suitable for r0xx0ring, though.)

Textual Entertainments: Hespira, the latest Hengis Hapthorn book by Matthew Hughes. That's a lot of doom Hengis is facing. (My theory: <rot13>Gur juvzfvrf ner tbvat gb rkcnaq gb svyy gur havirefr, cbffvoyl yrnivat cbpxrgf bs jung Uratvf guvaxf bs nf abeznyvgl.</rot13>)

Visual Entertainments:

  • Soul Eater 3-4: Yay, Dave found slightly better subtitles! (He also ordered what's been commercially released so far, but it hasn't arrived yet.) Kid Death is such a freak. Also, the cheesecake/bishonen ratio is rather skewed.
  • Oh! Edo Rocket 24: More explosions! Next week, the final explosions!
  • Spice and Wolf 2.5-2.6: Go Horo! (But how did people ever get any arithmetic done before positional notation?)
  • Darker Than Black 20: Yep, that was pretty doomed.

Cats: Twelve paws, several of which like playing with string!

Writing: FAIL, part 347960976.

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22 February 2010 - Monday

Work: Ack, it's Monday again! Fortunately, there were hardly any tickets opened over the weekend. Unfortunately, there are still tickets left over from the people who left. Fortunately, someone is applying to help fill in that gap. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to interview someone (consultants don't generally get asked to do a lot of interviewing).

Cats: Twelve scampery paws!

Writing: I meant to be virtuous, but I am full of FAIL.

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21 February 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: We can only do about one thing per Thrace session (at least for the next few years), but this session we did something that got us XP, and also potentially information about our secret enemies, in the form of a fey-goblin slave. Next session, we do something else!

Textual Entertainments: Ayse and Marit have used their special book-recommending powers to get me to read the "Company" books by Kage Baker. Today I finished the first (and allegedly least), In the Garden of Iden. It was pretty good, although oh so very doomed. Mendoza is an idiot, but she's nineteen and has superpowers, so one can't expect too much. In further news, stupid ape is stupid (an expected side-effect of thinking about the Big Ape Who Makes Thunder.)

Cats: Ghirardelli remains extra-plush. Marmalade remains extra-stripy. Aspen remains dubious of looming monsters with graspy paws.

Writing: FAIL.

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20 February 2010 - Saturday

Work: I actually answered work email on a weekend. Dooooooom.

Food: I was officially celebrated in my new job with mushroom-sherry chicken, butternut squash, roasted root vegetables, courtesy of Ken; coffee-beer-somethingelse bread from Earl (no pie for me, sniff), and friends! Er, friends are not like food. But they go well with food!

Visual Entertainments: After playing hard-to-get for like two years, we finally let Ken show us The Sting. None of us expected the final twist!

Cats: Despite yesterday's oppression, Aspen willingly sat within arm's reach of me and didn't flee even when I put my horrible monstrout paws on her!

Writing: Check, astoundingly! But not the what, trideskuple? check I'd need to catch up.

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19 February 2010 - Friday

Work: My team (what's left of it) took me out to lunch to celebrate my arrival, or maybe as apology for issuing me a Blackberry. (I'm not on call yet, but will be in a couple of weeks.)

Food: The Siamese Kitchen in San Carlos. Yum, pumpkin curry!

Cats: I oppressed Aspen so much with the seizing and the snuzzling!

Writing: FAIL.

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18 February 2010 - Thursday

Work: Apparently we are about to have the Best Benefits Ever, since the company will be paying all our health insurance premiums (premia?). I guess the economy is recovering, or else we're getting more than our share of the dwindling pie.

My, the Internet really is full of things: The Devil's Dictionary, now with exciting JavaScript!

Textual Entertainments: The Good, The Bad, and the Uncanny, Simon R Green's Nth "Nightside" book. If you liked the others, you'll probably like this one too. I wonder if that last bit was supposed to be a Sherlock Holmes homage?

Visual Entertainments: Started the second disc of Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki. I'm not sure I remember this part. Maybe I only saw the first disc before.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: FAIL.

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17 February 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Everybody loves tickets! Tickets go ping! Especially tickets at 8am!

Textual Entertainments: Host, the third "Rogue Mage" book by Faith Hunter, definitely wraps up the immediate plot arc, but it doesn't feel like a series conclusion. Maybe I just have an unnatural desire for things to be explained.

Cats: After Choco-Cat Chase comes Choco-Cat Capture! Belly-rubbins may be involved.

Writing: No brain.

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16 February 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Argh, it's virtual Monday. Also, two people are leaving the group I just joined, which can't possibly be a bad sign or anything. But it does mean no non-ticket-taking phase for me!

Visual Entertainments:

  • Oh! Edo Rocket 22-23: Awwww!
  • Spice and Wolf 2.4: Yay! It's a cunning plan!
  • Soul Eater 1-2: The art style is just as silly as the anime! I don't know about the dialog or plot because modern fansubbers use the smallest, lowest-contrast font they can find, and this group has outdone all the rest!
  • Darker Than Black 19: Dooooooooooom!

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: Guess.

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15 February 2010 - Monday


Cats: Miau! Also, miau miau!

Writing: FAIL.

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14 February 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: The rocket troopers were a decent hit, but despite the encounter being level+2½, it was still pretty easy for the PCs to crush all the warforged and their mechanical griffin too.

Visual Entertainments: Finished first disc of Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki. It's only taken me like a week. Apparently having a job reduces anime consumption.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Mi-Go invade Britain!

Cats: Shoelaces are still fun!

Writing: Continued FAIL.

a change of approach? by Graydon (Tue Feb 16 16:57:39 2010)

If you're having the PCs mop the floor (walls, culverts, high clerestory windows...) with the encounter despite technical stiff odds, it's very likely that what's happening is that the encounter entities aren't trying hard enough.

This is a really, really tough thing to avoid; many scheming players, one DM.

I'd suggest some encounters where there is one (1) sneaky, _mean_ individual, who can try really hard. They don't have to be level-equivalent; probably shouldn't be. It should be out of the usual context ("sandbagged in the men's", "Jonah's lift",...), the antagonist should want something very specific, and should be determined to survive if at all possible.

A two-levels-down NPC sniper -- heavy crossbow, magical quarrels, cloak of skulking, the lot -- can be a good first example of this sort of thing. Really obsessive romantically smitten druids, determined to release LG characters like paladins from their confining inhibitions, can be a lot of fun, too; the antagonist doesn't have to be going for hit points. Reputation, alignment, and professional relationships also make good targets.

Re: a change of approach? by Trip (Wed Feb 17 20:31:38 2010)

D&D4 actually makes that kind of thing quite hard. Preparation, even with magic items, doesn't get you nearly as many plusses as in previous editions.

Of course the GM can always change the rules to make Jeremy lose, but I think he feels quite oppressed enough after I decided his character didn't spot the robots hiding motionless under the sand.

Or maybe I'm just saying all this to lull them into a false sense of security...

it doesn't have to be hit points... by Graydon (Thu Feb 18 16:17:19 2010)

So go for reputation, alignment, and professional relationships.

The paladin gets a paternity suit; if there are truth-detecting spells, there are probably "mystic paternity assignment" spells somewhere, too.

The rogue gets taken out for dinner by a highly-placed member of the city law enforcement mechanism, and there's a rumour they're an agent.

Any magic user is always vulnerable to accusations of necromancy.

It could just be some obnoxious kid with a pie, really, and the many-witnesses, no-good-response problem.

Re: it doesn't have to be hit points... by Trip (Thu Feb 18 19:27:24 2010)

I knew I should have required the PCs to be functioning members of society (or at least good-aligned)!

I refuse to believe in player characters lacking reputations. by Graydon (Fri Feb 19 16:18:36 2010)

It can be a reputation as that guy who chewed down a balsam fir because he didn't want to get his ax sticky, but they've got one.

Reputation is much more important if you don't have society to fall back on, too. It almost doesn't matter for game purposes what you do with the orphan, someone will disapprove. The trick is to make the PC interact with the disapproval.

Reputation by Trip (Sun Feb 21 13:37:40 2010)

That does sound like the sort of reputation these characters would get. Hm, maybe if it were an orphaned balsam fir...

I need to, in no particular order,

  • Get them to stay in one place long enough to interact with NPCs more than once
  • Decide what can and can't be done with a godawful Intimidate roll
  • Learn to play NPCs

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13 February 2010 - Saturday

My, the Internet really is full of things: I recall something like this from Brin's Earth.

Gaming: Ah, TextEdit does have the power to include images and even put them in tables to position them. Yay!

Textual Entertainments: Finished the second book in Faith Hunter's "Rogue Mage" series, Seraphs. I thought there might be some genre shift based on stuff at the end of the first book, but apparently not.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: Well, so much for that idea. FAIL.

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12 February 2010 - Friday

Work: I wrote a 30-line SQL query. Eventually, it worked. Muahahahaha.

Then I properly (maybe) labelled a bunch of tickets. nCluster customers seem to, broadly, have much the same problems as users of any other software package. This is kind of reassuring.

Visual Entertainments: A little more Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki. Indeed, I have definitely seen this before. But maybe I'll watch it again anyway.

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

Writing: FAIL.

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11 February 2010 - Thursday

Work: Today I learned a thing. Maybe even two things!

Gaming: I think I figured out which monsters to reskin for an encounter on Sunday, but I probably need more than one encounter. Bah!

Cats: Yay purry Marma-snuggles!

Writing: FAIL.

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10 February 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Whee, team meeting at 21:30 on Wednesday night! (Not much to be done when the team is split to opposite sites of the globe.)

SQL hurts my brain.

Textual Entertainments: Kit mad me read the Jane Yellowrock books (Faith Hunter) and they were fairly entertaining, so I picked up Hunter's earlier series, the "Rogue Mage" trilogy. It is based (partially) on Christian mythology, but at least it's the sort where when angels show up, people die in vast numbers (unless they're the right sort of mutant, in which case an orgy ensues). Also, demons are not depicted as being particularly sexy, which is a plus. On the other hand, it is subgenretastic.

Cats: Marmalade: still ferocious vs string!

Writing: Having a job does not appear to be much like writing, does it? Maybe I should try to do what I did the first time I wrote an extremely bad novel, and designate Saturday as Writing Day. But then what would D&D Adventure Designing Day be?

Adventure prep by Jeremy (Fri Feb 12 10:53:07 2010)

I don't see a conflict, as long as you're writing lowbrow fantasy (or are willing to pull a quick genre change, in-game).

Re: Adventure prep by Trip (Fri Feb 12 16:28:17 2010)

You've seen what I write. Do you really want that crossing over with your D&D game?

Adventure prep by Jeremy (Sat Feb 13 15:29:16 2010)

Hmm, yeah, possibly not with the girls around.

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9 February 2010 - Tuesday

Work: So do I make comments and point out bugs in the training scripts because I am clever, or because I don't understand enough to concentrate on the material like I should?

Visual Entertainments:

  • Oh! Edo Rocket 21: Had I but known, I would have scheduled so this episode showed the same week as Avatar 3.17!
  • Darker Than Black 17-18: What are dolls, anyway?
  • Spice and Wolf 2.3: Meep.
  • Avatar 3.20-3.21: The End! <rot13>Gur tbbq thlf jva, naq Nnat qvqa'g unir gb ivbyngr uvf cevapvcyrf (nccneragyl arpxvat jvgu byqre jbzra vf abg ntnvafg uvf cevapvcyrf). Gbcu qvqa'g trg n unccl raqvat fprar, ohg fur fgvyy ehyrf. Nmhyn'f qrpyvar vagb znqarff jnf njshyyl noehcg, ohg abg bhg bs punenpgre. Gung raqvat jnf znqr sbe snasvp.</rot13>

Next week, Soul Eater!

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

Writing: Blargh FAIL blargh.

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8 February 2010 - Monday

Work: I'm in training all this week, which is probably for the best since I don't yet have a computer or anything. (Eh, it's a startup.) Training is a lot like an all-day meeting, and I still can't reliably remain conscious in meetings, but I managed to absorb some information anyway. I think the software is very clever, although I'm not sure yet, because I'm not very clever.

Everyone I've met so far has been very nice, although many of them are also new and therefore have limited information content. (Still a startup!)

Tomorrow, if I can get in before the training starts, I can probably get a computer and accounts and stuff.

My, the Internet really is full of things: The Secret Caves of the Lizard People!

Textual Entertainments: Blood Cross (Faith Hunter) is the second Jane Yellowrock book, not that publishers ever tell you the order of books in a series or anything. Jane still kicks ass, but Jo is still cooler.

Cats: Marmalade and Ghirardelli were glad to see me when I got home!

Writing: Ack gibber splat FAIL.

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7 February 2010 - Sunday

Idiots: Aeriofuckup isn't even answering the phone today. I left incensed and probably not fully coherent voicemail for them, because they suck. Even at Netcom, we at least sometimes knew when service was down before customers told us, and frequently felt bad about not being able to get it back up.


My, Usenet really was full of things: UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT Information is ENCOURAGED.

Food: All hail Ken, provider of beef short-rib pasta stuff!

Gaming: No Thrace, because Ken-mom and Ken-dad were visiting to admire their grandbaby, but after they left we played Dominion. Despite Ken's martini-fueled brilliant plan, I won by as many points as he trashed starting Estates in order to streamline his hand. Even better, I won not by having a brilliant plan but just by buying Gold cards until they were coming out my ears; I only had a total of seven action cards by the end of the game.

Who needs to keep brains around anyway?

Visual Entertainments: Hm, apparently I have seen Tenchi Muyo Rho-Ohki before, but didn't remember it until I actually watched the first episode, so it must not have been particularly amazing. Darn!

Cats: I oppress Aspen with the snuzzles! Ha hah!

Writing: Double check.

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6 February 2010 - Saturday

Frustration: Once again, Aeriofuckup had no idea their service was down until I called and told them. They pretended to care, but not very convincingly.

My, the Internet really is full of things: New work on the Five-second Rule (via Carl). It is refreshing to see that they have not neglected the important decision point, "Are you a megalosaurus?" as so many flowchart designers do.

Sequential Entertainments: I had forgotten how much Legends From Darkwood pleased me. Too bad it never continued.

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

Writing: Further FAIL.

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5 February 2010 - Friday

My, the Internet really is full of things: Balloon dresses! (via Marith)

Visual Entertainments: Finished the third disc of Aquarion. Meh.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Writing: FAIL. Aeriodisconnect has broken idiom logins again.

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4 February 2010 - Thursday

Work: Read up some on Postgres.

Cats: Old shoe-laces still considered best cat toy ever! Even Aspen finds it intriguing! (Because it's long enough I can give her an end to play with without her having to come within cat-seizing range.)

Writing: Check.

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3 February 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Offer letters signed: 1.

I will be working at Aster Data, supporting customers of their huge-database-mining product. I start Monday.

(Of course this caused at least one other company I was working on interviewing with to florn. because they have no other candidates for the position, but after the excitement last year with the Guaranteed Hire No Really, I am not optimistic enough to let go of this bird right here in my hand.)

Aster Data is about half an hour by foot from the San Carlos train station, so my commute will be longish but not horrible.

Visual Entertainments: Started the third disc of Aquarion. Enh.

Next up, Tenchi Muyo Ryo-Ohki!

Cats: In the process of putting new laces in my shoes, I discovered that the old laces are the best Marmalade toys ever! Much better than plain old string! This might be because it's heavy and sproingy so it wiggles excitingly, or because the end clicks, or because it's stinky, or maybe just because it's thick and dark-colored and stands out dramatically, but in any case, Marmalade is super-fierce with it!.

Writing: Check.

job! by cat (Wed Feb 3 21:03:45 2010)

Yay job! We should take you out to dinner to celebrate!

YAY JOB! by kit (Thu Feb 4 01:54:11 2010)

OH YAY! YAAAY!! Congratulations! *dances you like a dancing thing*! HOORAY!

Congratulations! by Carl (Thu Feb 4 05:04:15 2010)

Yay Job! Non-dancing Congratulations!

Woohoo! by Rachel (Thu Feb 4 10:33:06 2010)

Yay! Congratulations of the dancing kind!! And the dinner kind. :)

YAY! by Image (Thu Feb 4 12:18:39 2010)

May it be stable, lucrative, stimulating, and pleasant.

Congrats! by Graydon (Thu Feb 4 17:25:51 2010)

Excellent news!

May they all be sane and reasonable customers!

(Query - "florn"?)

Job by Jeremy (Thu Feb 4 18:08:28 2010)

Congratulations! Truly excellent news.

florn, n. by marith (Mon Feb 8 22:47:17 2010)

To florn is to wail dolefully about one's lot in life. I had a better explanation, but the internet ate it. :)

florn, n by Graydon (Tue Feb 9 14:34:47 2010)

Thank you, Marith!

I would say that was a nearly ideal explanation -- concise, authoritative, and evocative.

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2 February 2010 - Tuesday

Textual Entertainments: Ruby Best Practices (Gregory T Brown) feels more like an intermediate Ruby programming book than a best practices book: it has several chapters on "here's how you can do stuff in accordance with the Ruby philosophy" and one appendix on "Don't do these things that will make maintaining your Ruby code a pain". It seems to be good Ruby programming advice, but still not what I expected from a best practices guide. Oh well, my brain is larger now anyway.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Oh! Edo Rocket 20: BOOM!
  • Spice and Wolf II 1-2: Seems to be a direct continuation of the first season. Yay Horo!
  • Darker Than Black 16: BOOM!
  • Avatar 18-19: Preparations for the final showdown are complete!

Anime isn't as fun with no Mariths. Stupid work.

Cats: I oppressed Aspen so much with the snuzzles!

Writing: Check.

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1 February 2010 - Monday

Work: Interviews scheduled for next week: 1.

Cats: I got extra-purry arm snuggles from Marmalade in the night!

Writing: Check.

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