Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 August 2010 - Tuesday

Portland: Today's expedition was to the Lan Su Chinese Scholar's Garden, which was very scenic.Julia liked it a lot, even though we did not let her go play with the fishies.

Gaming: Ken has now read the Dark Sun book for 4th ed and thinks I should run a Dark Sun campaign. I think I've talked him down to a rotating-GM game, but it's probably moot since we don't have any time slots.

He also wants to restart his Earthdawn game because he got some new Earthdawn supplements, but see above about time slots.

Food: Breakfast: check. Lunch: We fed from the food carts (I had a burrito from Tito's Burritos II because I have been wanting a burrito ever since Bueno Bueno closed). Tea: the tea shop in the Chinese garden. Their tea egg had some garnishy bits on it, but was still yummy. Dinner: Sushi Ichiban again, this time with slightly more restraint.

Textual Entertainments: Grand Central Arena (Ryk E Spoor) is old-fashioned adventure SF, with a version of hyperspace I don't recall seeing before, plus a good excuse for a character named Marc Duquesne. Bonus points for the characters having their best tech knocked out but not ending up at the tech level of 2010 or earlier.

Textual Winnowings: After dinner Ayse and I got all our books from the On Hold desk, along with a library cart, and sorted out the ones we really wanted to buy from the ones we could possibly live without. (Ken only had a couple of books, and Dave had been buying his books as he went so he had something to read while his fellow vacationers were being lame.) Apparently I am shallow and kind of stupid, because I put back a bunch of informative books but kept all the genre fiction. Then we bought a cart full of books and had them all shipped!

Cats: Tomorrow I will be able to check on them myself!

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30 August 2010 - Monday

Planned Encounters: Carl has made it to Portland. There is no escape.

Portland: Today, we went to the Hawthorne district. There are still two branches of Powell's there, but no stores that will sell me a hat that I want. (This is probably not the stores' fault.) Also, they have an allegedly extinct volcano.

Gaming: Carl tried to sell us on the wonders of Apocalypse World. He probably succeeded, but gaming requires scheduling, which is doomed.

Textual Pillagings: Check. The people at the On Hold desk are starting to look at me funny each time I bring up another basket of books.

Food: Breakfast: complimentary. Lunch: Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen, where they gave us enormous sandwiches full of delicious pastrami. Dinner: Wildwood, where we had many exciting appetizers, but I was still so full of pastrami that I could only have an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad for an entree. Apparently the watermelon was heirloom too, because it was yellow. Freaky, yet delicious!

Dave's Mom: Still awesome.

Cats: Paw report still positive!

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29 August 2010 - Sunday

Portland: Today, we ventured forth to explore the International Rose Test Garden, which has very very many roses. Some of the roses bloom as one color but then become another color as the flowers age, which is pretty cool, especially when the colors include orange or purple. Julia was sad that she could not eat the roses.

Dave's mom (who has a name, but we all just call her Dave's mom) was lured down from Seattle to see Dave and also monitor-sit for Julia (who goes to bed at 17:30, but is way too young to be left unattended). Yay Dave's mom!

Textual Pillagings: Check

Textual Entertainments: Death of a Starship by Jay Lake. It was okay, but dude, a watt is already "per second".

Food: Breakfast: complimentary. Lunch: The Original, which calls itself a dinerant. I don't know what that is, but the waitstaff were supernice to Julia. They also brought me poutine, which was meh. Dinner: We had no Julia (yay Dave's mom!), so we ravaged Sushi Ichiban until we could eat no more.

Cats: The paw report is still favorable!

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28 August 2010 - Saturday

Portland: Dave and I ended up having to switch rooms with Ayse/Ken/Julia, but it worked out better for everyone (especially Dave who did not have to listen to my snoring any more because we got a door that shut).

Doing things in the morning is severely hampered by Julia's sleep schedule, but we went for a walk and saw assorted parks with statuary, and also a sign that displayed strange oracular phrases. Towards afternoon, Ayse lured her friends Scott and Shannon over and they blew off cleaning the place they're moving out of to hang out with us for a few hours.

Random Encounters: Scott is pretty random, and also Dramatically Silly.

Babies: Julia has learned to clap when someone says "Good job!". This may be because she is adorable.

Textual Entertainments: Yesterday, Powell's yielded up to me a copy of Book Goblin and the Suicidal Mime (Mizuki Nomura), a strange but kind of cute Japanese light novel about a girl who eats books and one or more mysterious suicides.

Textual Pillagings: When one buys between 10 and 1000 books at Powell's, they will ship them to an arbitrary address for a flat fee of $12.89. This doesn't apply to books one bought yesterday and would now like to ship, but fortunately they will let one put books on hold while one thinks about them for up to three days. Three days from today is the day before we go home anyway. We have a Plan!

Food: Breakfast: The Mark Spencer's complimentary breakfast (bagels, yogurt, hardboiled eggs). Lunch: Dave and I pillaged the Altengartz bratwurst cart, but Ken had a Korean burrito, because how could he not? I'm not sure if Ayse ever got lunch. Dinner: Scott and Shannon lured us to the Rock Bottom Brewery, which had quite good food, including tempura'd pepper rings and tempura'd dill pickle chips. No, really! People who drink beer seemed to think they had good beer, too.

Cats: I hear they are still doing okay!

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27 August 2010 - Friday

Travel: The TSA did not randomly decide to throw any of us in jail forever, so we made our 8:10 flight. Now Dave, Ayse, Ken, Julia, and I are in Portland! Wheee!

Julia was the very best baby ever on the airplane. I would suspect this even if Ayse had not informed me.

Our rental car is a very nice dark metallic burgundy, and has a very large trunk.

We are staying at the Mark Spencer hotel, which I hear is Fabulous, but it's not like I would know. It is a little worn, but has kitchenettes in the rooms and plenty of free food, and is one block from Powell's.

Textual Pillagings:Check.

Food: Lunch: the famous Bijou Cafe. Goat cheddar + bacon + green onions + eggs = yum. Dinner: takeout from Pinot American Brasserie, which is just across the street from the Mark Spencer. The ambiance is meh, but the food was excellent and the waitstaff were extremely nice, so I definitely raise some tentacles for it.

Cats: Marith reports all is well!

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26 August 2010 - Thursday

Work: No work. Preparation for Portland.

Textual Entertainments: In between preparations, I finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (N K Jemisin). It reminds me of Daniel Abraham's "Long Price" tetralogy, in a good way.

Cats: I briefed Marith on how to make sure the cats have food and water, and gave them what I hope will be enough litter. Meep.

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25 August 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Check. But now, I depart in the direction of Portland. I hope they will not die without me.

Sequential Entertainments: I have finally caught up to the most recent Negima!! Wow, that was a lot of fighting. And I never would have expected that outcome! (Well, okay, there were only about four possible outcomes, so I really kind of did, but Dave knows what I mean.)

Silly Computer Games: Check.

Cats: I hope the cats will be okay with Marith taking care of them! I must give them extra pettins!

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24 August 2010 - Tuesday

Thermions: Surprise!

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Soul Eater 39-40: That's certain to go poorly, but I think all the characters know that too.
  • Higurashi When They Cry II 6: No one expects the Monologue Exposition! But we did expect the content, because it was much like what we had been surmising.
  • Chrome Shelled Regios 8-9: That is a philosophical difference that could make it hard to work together, yes. But since when do a miniskirt and bare thighs constitute protective gear?
  • Shakugan no Shana II 3: Wow, Margery Daw actually got off her couch!

Cats: Poor kitties! I do not think they were pleased by the thermions, especially since none of them had the whole apartment to search for the coolest spot to sit. Obviously I am a terrible cat-dad.

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23 August 2010 - Monday

Work: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Fun with graphite! Also, txtspk is older than you think (if you think it's new).

Cats: So furry!

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22 August 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: I threw some stuff together at the last minute and sent hordes of zombies to crush the PCs. Sadly, the zombies couldn't roll worth beans, and their freedom to maneuver was greatly constrained by the ginormous wall of fire Naled put up. The PCs did use a lot of dailies, though, so it's probably for the best that they decided not to attack the necromancer who showed up to ask what they thought they were doing to his lab (even though, or maybe because, he mind-controlled Naled).

Things I have learned:

  • Huge monsters are lame if there's any blocking or damaging terrain on the map
  • When you have PCs with an AC of 30, monsters have to attack at +20 to avoid being worthless
  • Fights are more exciting with more damage types

Not that I begrudge them their victory, but next time should be more and differently challenging, right?

The necromancer should have demanded they do something for busting into his lap, but I suck at being pushy. No, really really suck.

For next session: what are they going to tell the people who sent them out to find the source of the interference? Also, fights in town where they shouldn't kill anyone, and more skullduggery surrounding the election and the rock of doom.

Anything else?

Visual Entertainments: Finally Marith and I were able to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World, possibly because we had Cat and Earl to keep us from becoming confused.

It was pretty swell! The actor they chose for Scott was too fidgety in his gormlessness, and I have definite issues with some of the changes they made to the plot (Ramona should have gotten to kick way more ass), but on the other hand, now we know why we haven't seen Angie around for a while. (I secretly believe Knives grew up to be Liralen, but I understand opinions may differ.)

Food: Finally I have defeated the Afghan pumpkin!

Cats: I meant to put Ghirardelli in lockup but forgot. No one seemed to have been traumatized when I got back.

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21 August 2010 - Saturday

Gaming: In honor of Ken's birthday (observed), we played Age of Renaissance. There was a slow period when Earl showed up to hang out, and then Marith had to drop out because too many people in too small a space was making her brain explode, but then we hit our stride and Ken, Dave, Mike, Ayse, and I stuck it out until about 21:00 when Ayse said we had to stop or she would die from tiredness. We were well into the third phase by then, so the outcome was probably vaguely representative. Final winner: Ken. Final loser: me. Now that we know how to play, perhaps we will do it again.

Playing Age of Renaissance for nine hours straight is not even a little like preparing to abuse PCs.

Food: Piles of acceptable Chinese delivery food, then we talked Ken into celebratory Pizza My Heart, which was still very yummy and still very spendy.

Cats: Jinian T Cat sat by me while we gamed and got pettins.

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20 August 2010 - Friday

Work: Today was cow orker S's last day. Now it's down to me and cow orker G here, and cow orkers P and V in India. I hear unemployment is still egregious, so hopefully we can find worthy new sacrifices to the blind nameless gods of Tech Support in the very near future.

My, the Internet really is full of things: The DOs and DON'Ts of Disaster Donations.

Gaming: I didn't get very far in preparing for Sunday, but at least I made a list of what I'm not doing!

Food: Mm, leftover Afghan pumpkin yogurt stuff!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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19 August 2010 - Thursday


Work: There was an exciting, or at least loud, fire alarm incident this morning, complete with fire truck. We avoided the excitement by eating Indian food, ostensibly in honor of cow orker S who is leaving us tomorrow.

Food: Because I was too hungry when I ate lunch, I ate too much and could not eat much of the yummy Afghan food with which we celebrated Ken-day. But now I have yogurt-covered pumpkin to eat tomorrow! (Also enough rice to crush a water buffalo.)

Visual Entertainments: Slayers Next 14-15: double Dragon Slave action! Also, Gourry finds his true self!

Cats: Argh, Ghirardelli was oppressing Aspen. Not very much, but still! Perhaps he will not trade off the room of confinement with Marmalade any more. (But he doesn't seem to mind being in there, and just lounges indolently even when I go to shut the door.)

cat oppression by Graydon (Sun Aug 22 08:18:55 2010)

Cat oppression can have the object of forcing $OTHER_CAT to acknowledge lower status, or cat oppression can have the objective of making $OTHER_CAT go away forever and never return.

It seems not impossible that Ghirardelli wants to make the other cats Go Away rather than acknowledge his preeminence, which is a different problem entirely when it comes to approaches to feline harmony encouragement.

Re: cat oppression by Trip (Mon Aug 23 08:24:44 2010)

I have also seen Ghirardelli and Marmalade be near each other for at least a few minutes at a time without any excitement ensuing, so I don't think it's that Ghirardelli cannot stand to have Marmalade in his apartment one second longer. But maybe I overestimate the energy he would put forth for that.

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18 August 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Check.

Cats: Today was Marmalade's day to be locked up, but he was fine. He even demanded snuggles and pettins within an hour or so after I let him out.

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17 August 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Shakugan no Shana II 1-2: That's a good way to do recap.
  • Soul Eater 38: Poor Black*Star.
  • Higurashi When They Cry II 4-5: This doom obviously has boundaries, but what are they? <rot13>Qbrf vg erfrg jura nyy gur znva punenpgref qvr? Ohg ubj sne onpx?</rot13>
  • Chrome Shelled Regios 7: If some in the party are higher level, you fight higher-level enemies so the lower-level people gain XP even faster. No problem.

Cats: Marmalade was extra-affectionate this morning... right as I was trying to leave for work. I explained that I had to work to get money to buy gooshyfoods, but his counterargument of "Love-face! Fluffy belly! Love-face!" was difficult to rebut!

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16 August 2010 - Monday

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments: I am apparently not smart enough to watch movies.

Marith pwned me at air hockey, but that's not surprising since I'm pretty sure there are people voting now who weren't born the last time I played. I think I'd do better, or at least score fewer own goals, if I kept the paddle(?) against the rear edge of the field.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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15 August 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: No gaming. Work. (But it wouldn't have been D&D in any case, because Dave was still in Roseville.)

Work: The disk on one of the machines I needed exploded, and I couldn't get information from the customer on what should be done, so I ended up not doing very much after all. Bah.

Sequential Entertainments: In my reread of Negima!, I've finally gotten to the end of the school festival storyline (10 volumes! Gah! All of Love Hina was only 14 volumes!), and I still side with Chao. Her opponents want to prevent people from understanding the world, and that's not okay by me.

I award points for the cyberspace hacking battle involving an actual SYN flood defended against by iptables, even though the rest of it was silly.

Textual Educations: From Eternity to Here is a nontechnical explanation of what the Arrow of Time is, and why it's interesting to cosmologists like Sean Carroll. It's a pretty good introduction to cosmology in general, since understanding what entropy is doing over the life of the universe requires knowing what the life of the universe is like, and would be enlightening on the subject of entropy to those who think entropy means how messy your apartment is.

Visual Entertainments: The disc was pretty skippy, but I could still tell that Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan has little to recommend it. Oh well.

Cats: Twelve pretty good paws!

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14 August 2010 - Saturday

Work: Indeed, there were many things that needed doing today. Sadly, they are not producing the expected result.

Silly Computer Games: Since I was stuck sitting here by my computer anyway, I completed all fifteen levels of Cursed Treasure: Don't Touch My Gems during various periods of waiting for scripts to do their little dance. I could go back and try to get an Excellent rating on all of them, but I don't think I care that much. It's an amusing variant on tower defense, though.

Cats: Sitting here in front of my computer means Marmalade can find me when he wants snuggles!

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13 August 2010 - Friday

Work: I guess it's just as well I'm on-call this weekend, since there's lots of stuff that needs doing over the weekend and I'm the one most likely to be doing it anyway.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Freaky biology is freaky.

BONUS: Freaky cooking is also freaky.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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12 August 2010 - Thursday

Work: Check.

Food: Bruschetta and salad and more bruschetta and more salad!

Visual Entertainments: Slayers Next 12-13: Yay Dragon Slave!

Gaming: Maybe someone somewhere knows how shaman spirit companions work, but apparently it's not WotC.

The Living Flaming Sphere is written up with "Speed fly 6 (hover; altitude limit 1)" which may be a reasonable compromise between sanity and the rules as written.

Cats: Today it was Marmalade's turn to be confined. I'm not sure when he'll forgive me.

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11 August 2010 - Wednesday

Work: I had a Webex meeting at 19:30 to go with the phone meeting at 21:30. Fortunately there are docs on this stuff, because I didn't get much of it at all. (Phones suck.)

My, the Internet really is full of things: Did I post this before? If so, I'll post it again! Reverse-Engineering an Animal-Style Double-Double.

Cats: Twelve very oppressed paws!

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10 August 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things: How to Turn Carrots into Bacon!

Visual Entertainments:

  • Chrome Shelled Regios 6: That's pretty doomed, but anyone who has watched any shounen series knows that giving up is not the answer!
  • Soul Eater 36-37: See, the demon can't really corrupt you! It's perfectly safe to use that power!
  • Higurashi When They Cry II 3: It looks like what we thought is correct, but will there be another strange twist?
  • Kimi ni Todoke 24-25 (finale): AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Next week, Shakugan no Shana season two!

Food: I wonder if they gave us double sun-dried tomatoes on that pizza? But it's okay, I like sun-dried tomatoes at least as much as I like feta and pesto!

Cats: This morning when I had to leave, Marmalade was on top of the bookcase in my room and Ghirardelli was in the living room, so it was Marmalade's turn to be confined. I don't think he appreciated it, but he did not get beat up by Ghirardelli, and I don't think Aspen did either.

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9 August 2010 - Monday

Work: Check.

Gaming: I still cannot come up with a way to conceptualize the movement of a shaman's spirit companion according to the conjuration rules. I thought I almost had it, but I still don't get what happens if the floor gets yanked out from under it or if it water is involved. Also, there is apparently a magic item that lets the spirit companion ignore difficult terrain, but since when were conjurations affected by difficult terrain?

D&D4 has a problem with being simultaneously too abstract and too concrete, in my incontestable opinion.

Silly Computer Games: Jay is Games's top-rated games have been moderately entertaining in the past, so I finally got around to playing some of the Submachine games. Submachine and Submachine Zero both defeated me. (I only needed one clue from each walkthrough, but these games are so small that that's still a pretty big percentage of each one). I was still working on Submachine 2: The Lighthouse when I had to go to bed.

If these games are the sort of thing you like, then you will like them!

Cats: Twelve paws!

Submachines! by marith (Wed Aug 11 22:01:45 2010)

Yay another victim of Mateusz Skutnik! All must fall to the Submachines!

I generally have to look at the walkthroughs at least once per game too, but eh, so what? They're fun and creepy and atmospheric, and I'm getting quite curious about WTF is actually going on in the story.

Also, not a single other living creature has been encountered in half a dozen games of submachine exploration. If one ever appears I will probably levitate out of my chair and gwack.

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8 August 2010 - Sunday

Food: In the interests of Ayse getting fed, I volunteered Marith to fetch In-N-Out.

Gaming: We successfully played a little Thrace! Most of the important parts of Lycoris were retrieved from the dryad, and we determined that the creepy village of creepy children must be investigated. because it is creepy and also contains children.

Silly Computer Games: I played a few more games of Mamono Sweeper and won almost all of them. In theory there could be situations like in Minesweeper where you have to choice but to guess, but in practice it doesn't seem to come up.

Cats: Ghirardelli and Marmalade were both affection beasts today!

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7 August 2010 - Saturday

Silly Computer Games: I played Manufactoria until I got stuck on the mecha. When I looked at someone else's solution, I finally noticed the "Shift-click to bridge" message at the bottom of the screen when placing conveyer belts, but by that time I had lost the Turing Machine mood and gotten distracted by Mamono Sweeper, which is kind of like Minesweeper but different. Eventually my hand cramped up from too much mouse and I had to stop. (Also it was bedtime.)

Cats: Minimal discord!

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6 August 2010 - Friday

Work: Yay, it's Friday!

My, the Internet really is full of things: Radioactive wild boars increase in number.

(If mushrooms concentrate radioactives, then can an Unstoppable Army of Atomic Fungusoids be far off?)

Cats: Now Ghirardelli will get a couple of days of not being locked in the back room. Will he be a good cat?

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5 August 2010 - Thursday

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments: Slayers Next 9-11: Everything's better more exciting with extra mazoku!

Food: We had okay Chinese food (but not OK Chinese Food) from the nearby delivery place, so that Ayse would not starve after spending all day having someone suck her life energy out through her chest.

Gaming: Ken has arranged his gaming schedule carefully so that he does not die, so changing the phase of Thrace/PAD&D4 to fit around the upcoming expeditions does not seem feasible at this time.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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4 August 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Check.

Food: By stretching my food-preparation tentacles to the limit, I was able to dine on... tunafish sandwiches!

Cats: Bad cats! No fighting! Not even if you're fluffy!

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3 August 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments:

Why do we have no lizards?

  • Chrome Shelled Regios 4-5: Felli should really be working at Coffee of Doom instead.
  • Soul Eater 35: I can't blame someone for turning to the dark side when faced with a mosquite like that. Yikes.
  • Higurashi When They Cry II 1-2: This season seems to have the mood of nostalgia rather than horror, but we're only two episodes in. I'm sure there will be plenty of doom soon.
  • Kimi ni Todoke 23: AWWWWWWW!

Next week: finale of KnT!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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2 August 2010 - Monday

Work: Why does it work now? Gargh. Well, it does work, so I'll call it good enough.

Visual Entertainments: Finished disc three of Burst Angel. I wonder what Netflix will send me next? (I could look, but that would be like a lack of laziness.)

Cats: Ghirardelli does seem to have some small scabs under his neckfur, so I guess the tussling isn't entirely one-sided, but Marmalade still seems happier with some time apart from Ghirardelli every day. (I can't tell what Aspen thinks, beyond I'm a horrible person and I better not touch her (unless I'm giving her food).)

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1 August 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: I can't believe they made camp in the tomb full of recently-deanimated zombies and ghosts! But obviously I need a big list of creepy things to have happen in the creepy swamp of creepiness, because when I make stuff up on the fly it is lame (so, thematically consistent, then).

Visual Entertainments: This is Burst Angel I don't think I've seen. It is still not great, sadly.

Cats: There has been only a little discord.

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