Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 December 2010 - Friday

Modern Medicine: This time I had the humidifier on full and amply provided with water, but I still woke up about 5:00 with my nose impassable to oxygen. Bah!

Brain not significantly larger today.

Textual Entertainments: The Domino Pattern is the fourth or so in Timothy Zahn's "Quadrail" series. More interstellar trains, more skulduggery. Also, <rot13>fzbbpurf</rot13>.

Food: Marith and the Monkeycats and I went over to Earl and Cat's to eat cheese fondue and more cheese fondue and even more cheese fondue, and hang out until midnight and stuff. Cheddar + Gruyere + Raclette = NOM.

Gaming: We made Ayse happy by playing some King's Blood.

Cats: Earl's new(ish) cat Seeker permitted me to gaze upon him. Madeleine still hates me. Phoenix is still mellow.

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30 December 2010 - Thursday

Modern Medicine: The nose-only mask does not work so well when one's nose is congested, bah. According to the machine I only failed to breathe a couple of times per hour (anything below 5 is considered OK), but toward morning I woke up with coughing and not so much breathing. I think the humidifier actually is important, so I need to pick up some distilled water to feed it.

Work: Check. Today, no one opened a case to complain that they thought performance should be better just as I was trying to leave, so I actually left.

Sequential Entertainments: Yotsuba&! vol 9, yay!

Visual Entertainments: No Slayers, because we have no Dave and little motivation.

Cats: While I was in bed, Marmalade sniffed my head a lot, but he mostly chewed on my hair (which grows back), not on the expensive headgears. Also, he purred.

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29 December 2010 - Wednesday

Modern Medicine: I slept with the tentacle attached to my face for the whole night (although the machine claims it was used for only 5 hours) and did not die. In fact (according to the machine) I only stopped breathing once. However, my brain does not appear to be any larger today.

The cats did not eat the machine. I didn't notice them snuggling up to me either, so perhaps they are scared of the strange noises it makes. I'm sure that won't last.

Work: Check.

Textual Educations: Snoop, by Sam Gosling, is ostensibly about how you can find out about people's personalities by looking at their stuff, but to do this it has to explain just what "personality" means (for this purpose, the "Big Five" model of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeability, and Neuroticism) and how people intuitively make these judgements with varying degrees of accuracy (some stereotypes are actually based in truth, but without actual research you can't tell them from the stereotypes that are completely bogus), so the book really ends up being mostly about what people are like, with the stuff as a frame.

Brains are peculiar! (But also tasty.)

Visual Entertainments: More Kenichi, The Mightiest Disciple because it requires only a tiny brain.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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28 December 2010 - Tuesday

Modern Medicine: I finally picked up my face-tentacle-machine! I was also trained on its usage and sold a cover for the hose which may or may not protect it from cats, so night-time respiration should be go!

The SleepQuest office is inconveniently located just a couple of hundred meters from where I work... on the other side of the 101. The nearest place to cross is a couple of kilometers away, where I normally cross to get to work from the train station. Bah, stupid car creatures!

Work: Some customers broke their clusters immediately upon returning from the long weekend, but we fixed them.

Textual Entertainments: Labyrinth is the fifth book in Kat Richardson's series about a Seattle PI who gets killed in the first couple of pages of the first book. Things go downhill from there, and by Labyrinth they are quite low indeed.

Visual Entertainments: Dave is still busy doing things with the Clan of Dave, so no Tuesday Night Anime for us.

Gaming: Marith and I trundled separately (and soggily) to Ayse and Ken's place, where we met Ken's childhood buddy Tamir and his wife Selena. Their brains seem tasty, although Tamir's face looks enough like Eric S's that I blink every time I look at him.

Ken crushed us all at Betrayal at House on the Hill, because he is naturally evil. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Cats: I bet Aspen doesn't mind being an indoor cat so much tonight!

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27 December 2010 - Monday

Accomplishment: PARTIAL FAIL! (I made an appointment to pick up my face-tentacle machine tomorrow.)

My, the Internet really is full of things: Ninjas, Swimmers, Cats and Sushi!

Sequential Entertainments: There are only two paper volumes of El Goonish Shive and I have them both, so I had to reread on the website. There's quite a lot of it. Maybe more than that.

Visual Entertainments: At least the first part of Kenichi, the Mightiest Disciple follows the traditional formula of "cowardly wimp strives to suck less and gains l33t martial arts skillz". I don't know if I'll bother to watch more than this disc.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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26 December 2010 - Sunday

Accomplishment: COMPLETE FAIL.

Visual Entertainments: The plot of Strike Witches doesn't actually make any sense, but it only shows up in 3/12 episodes, and doesn't introduce any extraneous pants.

There's allegedly a second season, but it doesn't seem to have been brought over yet.

Cats: Oh dear, Marmalade has finally managed to open one of the kitchen cabinets. Fortunately he hasn't generalized from scrabbling at the right side of the door to trying both sides until one works, so he can only get into a couple of them, not including the one where extra cat food goes.

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25 December 2010 - Saturday

Work: National Holiday!

Festivities: Marith and I went over to Ayse and Ken and Julia's again for more hanging out. Marith pushed Julia around on the new firetruck toy until her back gave out. Vrooom!

Food: Turkey of exceptional crispiness! Mashed spuds! Leeks! Carrots! Stuffing! More turkey!

Gaming: We managed to play a game of Carcassonne with the Abbey & Mayor supplement. Marith crushed us all by having gotten into farms early.

I suck at Carassonne, like I suck at all games, but building things is satisfying.

Textual Entertainments: After reading Kill The Dead yesterday, I went back and reread Sandman Slim for the context. It probably wasn't really necessary, though, since I correctly remembered the salient points.

Discord's Apple (Carrie Vaughn) is about that apple, in the near future where wetting your pants over terrists is mandatory by Federal law. It turns out about as well as you'd expect.

Visual Entertainments: Apparently no women in the world of Strike Witches wear pants, it's not just the Neuroi-fighters.

Cats: Extra kitty treats for all who want them!

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24 December 2010 - Friday

Work: No work today!

Festivites: Marith and I went to Monkeycatland and hung out.

Textual Entertainments: Truthseeker (by internationally acclaimed author C E Murphy) follows the timeless formula: cute Earth girl with magic talent plus hot elf guy with tragic past equals DOOOM! (And smooches.) The story will be wrapped up in the next volume, but currently my bet is that the main character is doomed without her sidekick.

Isn't it weird how much English-speakers lump into the word "truth"?

Kill The Dead (Richard Kadrey) is the sequel to Sandman Slim, in which the main character escaped Hell to wreak a terrible revenge. Earth pretty much sucks too, being full of angels and human magicians, who are all bastards, but there is always monster ass in need of being kicked. This setting would probably work pretty well for an RPG. Most of the magic could even be written up in Hero.

Visual Entertainments: Strike Witches 8: Of all the possible reasons to keep the (male) Other Ranks away from the pantsless teenage girls, that really is the one that fits this genre.

Food: Pork chops! Broccoli Rabe! Nom!

Plus, adventures in turkey brining.

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

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23 December 2010 - Thursday

Work: Why must people decide they don't like how our software runs at 16:30 on virtual Friday? Bah.

Visual Entertainments: Slayers Try 3-5: Yay return of characters from last season!

Food: Nom pizza nom!

Cats: Miau miau hmph!

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22 December 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Why must customers break our software?

Visual Entertainments: Started the second disc of Strike Witches. Still almost no pants.

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

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21 December 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Today I did not stay in the office until forever o'clock! Yay!

Textual Entertainments: Kitty Goes to War (Carrie Vaughn): Werewolves vs the Military-Industrial Complex! (Okay, more like the Military-Soulless_Reductionist_Science Complex.)

Visual Entertainments:

  • Shakugan no Shana II 23-24 (end): <rot13>Xnmhzv</rot13> didn't <rot13>qvfnccrne</rot13> after all, but there was obvious setup for season 3 (which we may or may not watch).
  • Ef - A Tale of Memories 10: Huh, that was almost like not very much doom after all.
  • Bakemonogatari 6-7: Oh good, Senjougahara and Hachikuji still oppress the protagonist, and now Kanbaru can help.
  • Higurashi When They Cry Rei 4: Philosophy attack! Everyone recover 3d7 points of emotional damage! (Next episode, the silly returns.)

Cats: Still not appreciated as much they deserve! Marmalade came to snuggle me while I slept, though.

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20 December 2010 - Monday

Work: Double check, almost. I didn't even leave the office until I should have been getting ready for bed.

Bah. Cough. Bah.

Cats: Kitties deserve much more adoration than I had time to give them!

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19 December 2010 - Sunday

Gaming: Monsters are a little more effective when they avoid Dave's character, but the first fight with the rock-stealing undead was still only a level+0 encounter. The second fight, when the shadow demon showed up, didn't finish by the time we had to break. Maybe I should have Adam's character show up to rescue them next session, although I have no idea what anyone would be doing out there in the necrotic swamp.

Textual Entertainments: Having read all the other Garrett books, in order, I'm back around to Gilded Latten Bones.

It's still kind of odd, but not so different in feel from the last couple before it as from the earlier ones.

I wonder if this is the last Garrett book. The last line suggests it, and it would be an okay place to stop, but there are certainly more stories that could be told, and at least a few more metals (bronze, electrum, platinum, ...). Or, since GLB involved a lot of Garrett sitting at base while other people ran around, there could be a spin-off series from the PoV of someone who does legwork while Garrett stays at home tending his collection of orchids babes. (I'd vote for Singe, but I don't know if that would actually work. Penny Dreadful, maybe?)

Visual Entertainments: After a long period of not watching Farscape, I watched another disc. As of 3.22, our hero seems pretty hosed.

Silly Computer Games: Jeremy says the secret to Mushroom Tower Defense is to build only pure Thunder towers. I haven't tried it yet, and might not bother.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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18 December 2010 - Saturday

Work: Yay! I'm not on call!

Health: Boo! Still coughing up my innards.

Textual Entertainments: Whispering Nickel Idols is back to a more standard Garrett antagonist, but Cruel Zinc Melodies heads off toward other genres again.

Also, Pular Singe rocks.

Cats: I got close enough to touch Aspen even though there was nothing holding her in place (like food or a comfy spot)! Only briefly, of course.

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17 December 2010 - Friday


Work: The entire office is down for maintenance today, so we're all working from home, without the VPN or any company servers like email or the bug database. At least our support tickets live on an external site.

Modern Medicine: Apparently I fail to breath about 40.7 times every hour that I try to sleep without a CPAP machine. With the CPAP machine set to 8, that number becomes 0, or too close to it to distinguish. I guess I get to sleep with tentacles on my face from now on.

I had the sleep center fax my prescription to SleepQuest, the tentacle-machine provider that Jeremy and Rachel recommended. Presumably soon they will contact me.

Textual Entertainments: Faded Steel Heat and Angry Lead Skies. The spread of law and order in the setting continues, and the fantasy elements are moving away from the traditional.

Visual Entertainments: Episodes 2-6 of Strike Witches also contain No Pants (pants would interfere with the thigh-high flight boots).

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

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16 December 2010 - Thursday

Work: Blargh.

Visual Entertainments: Strike Witches is very silly, and almost pants-free.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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15 December 2010 - Wednesday

Sleep: FAIL. I didn't cough much that I noticed, but apparently my sore throat was enough to keep from sleeping properly like I usually do.

Work: Blargh.

Cats: Twelve paws!

sore throat by Jeremy (Thu Dec 16 17:42:55 2010)

Are you using a CPAP? Humidification is your friend.

Re: sore throat by Trip (Thu Dec 16 19:10:48 2010)

No, I don't find out whether I would be best helped by a CPAP or euthanasia until tomorrow. I'm pretty sure this was plague of some kind, but it's mostly gone now.

CPAP or euthanasia by kit (Fri Dec 17 23:51:54 2010)

laughs I'm glad to hear it's a CPAP and not euthanasia which will help!

Re: CPAP or euthanasia by Trip (Mon Dec 20 14:09:21 2010)

I dunno, breathing seems to involve a lot of coughing. I'm not sure I want to keep it up.

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14 December 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Check. So far this has been a pretty slow week, but of course that could change at any moment.

Gaming: I had a thought, but forgot to record it in the mind map. Perhaps it will return.

Textual Entertainments: Petty Pewter Gods is kind of silly, or at least over-the-top. (And someone offer up some vibrators to those godesses, sheesh.)

Visual Entertainments: There was confusion over what was shown last week vs what I was given to catch up on, so it ended up that each of us rewatched one episode of something. Oh the inefficiency!

  • Ef - A Tale of Memories 9: Oh the doom. (Is it just me, or is there a lot more sex in this than in most anime with characters in this age range?)
  • Bakemonogatari 4-5: Nooooooo! Senjougahara, don't be nice to him! (What do you mean you can't be tsundere without some dere? Bah!)
  • Higurashi When They Cry Rei 3: The thot plickens!
  • Shakugan no Shana II 21-22: Yuji is just full of plans, isn't he? But I'm still rooting for Kazumi and Shana to run off together.

Food: Pizza My Heart is tasty, but awfully thin and not as filling as more plebian pizza. The calorie count is probably right up there, though.

Cats: Twelve furry paws!

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13 December 2010 - Monday

Work: Check. Blargh.

Textual Entertainments: More Garrett. By Deadly Quicksilver Lies, I think we're starting to see a little more of the interior damage of the villains. Also the Dead Man's TK is starting to get quietly ignored.

Visual Entertainments: Eddie Izzard, "Dressed to Kill". Okay, that was pretty funny, although I didn't bust a spiracle or anything. History-based humor!

This show was from 1999, so Portal had not yet been dreamed of, but the bit about the Anglicans and "Cake or death?" made me think their slogan should actually be "The death is a lie!".

("'"'The death is a lie!' is a lie!" is a lie!' is a lie!")

Silly Computer Games: Blargh.

Cats: Eight snuggly paws and four paws that are far too good for me!

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12 December 2010 - Sunday

Gingerbread: Partial check. I went to the party, but did not actually eat any gingerbread. I did see people I don't often see, like JHart and Jim, and approximately a zillion other people. I think it was a smaller zillion than previous years, though.

Everybody I know sucks much less than I do.

Textual Entertainments: Red Iron Nights, sixth "Garrett" book. This is where Block and Relway start to become important.

Food: Party munchies until I died.

Silly Computer Games: Still can't get anywhere with level 4 of Mushroom Tower Defense. Bah.

Cats: Aspen and Marmalade are so cute curled up together in a little blanket cave!

Mushroom Tower Defense by Jeremy (Tue Dec 14 20:57:03 2010)

Won my first game. Is there a way to make it harder?

Re: Mushroom Tower Defense by Trip (Wed Dec 15 10:02:11 2010)

All the way through however many maps there are? Wow. (How many maps are there, anyway?) I guess you can try to reach the gold score on every map.

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11 December 2010 - Saturday

Textual Entertainments: I finally got around to digging up all the "Garrett" books, lining them up in order on the shelf, and starting to plow through them. They are quick reads, and I'm very lazy, so I got through the first five today: Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, Cold Copper Tears, Old Tin Sorrows, and Dread Brass Shadows. They are much more action-oriented than the latest one (Gilded Latten Bones), and in the first one, Garrett even leaves TunFaire!

Visual Entertainments:

  • Higurashi When They Cry Rei 1-2: That first episode was very very silly. The second one is more like what we expect, but this may still end up being the Fur Seal arc.

Now I am caught up!

Cats: I oppressed Aspen with the seizins, but I don't think she is at all getting used to being held. Bah.

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10 December 2010 - Friday

Work: I took the credit for figuring out that one can only INSERT INTO table_a (SELECT * FROM table_a) so many times before it fills up one's database and one become sad, even if one tells Support that table_a is tiny and not important.

Textual Educations: Despite the goofy subtitle and the last chapter, The Philosophical Baby (Alison Gopnik) is mostly developmental psychology (or developmental philosophy, if there's much of a difference). I don't think what Gopnik has to say about babies will be surprising to anyone who's at all up to date: babies aren't passive sponges, they're optimized for learning, and predisposed to learn important human things like language and theory of mind. Learning complex stuff requires the ability to think about counterfactuals, so little kids are full of imagination. Children are empathetic and want to make people happy. All of this is only true if they haven't been damaged by being raised by humans.

Also I hear babies are cute.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Bakemonogatari 4: Hm, Senjougahara is not quite as awesome in this one. But it's still pretty good.
  • Shakugan no Shana II 20: Boss fight!

Silly Computer Games: I finally beat the second map in Mushroom Tower Defense! The third map was much easier.

Cats: Twelve adorable paws of adorableness!

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9 December 2010 - Thursday

Work: Check. Is it nap time yet?

Visual Entertainments: No Slayers. Germs.

Bakemonogatari 3: Oh good, Senjougahara is still driving the main character nuts! (Although apparently he takes 2x effect from girls anyway, so she doesn't really have to work at it.)

Cats: Twelve paws!

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8 December 2010 - Wednesday

Modern Medicine: I felt a little more conscious and useful in the morning than usual, but not overwhelmingly so.

* * *

I felt useful much further into the evening than usual, but of course that could be psychosomatic.

Work: Despite being trapped in the wilds of Sunnyvale, I made it to work at the usual time. Wheee.

Visual Entertainments: Marith brought me a thumb drive of catchup anime, because she and Dave are nice.

Ef - A Tale of Memories 8: That's some doom, all right. (Whatsisface seems suspiciously certain about that "forever", but it might just be that the writers thought brains don't change.)

Cats: As predicted, I was thoroughly miaued!

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7 December 2010 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Modern Medicine: Only a few months after being told I'm too stupid to sleep and breathe at the same time, I went in for a sleep study. It was like sleeping in a small windowless hotel room, except for the part where a nice veteran of the Russian army spent an hour taping electrodes to my head (and a few to my chest and shins). There were also some straps with strain meters (?) that went around my chest and abdomen, a tube with a couple of little prongs that lurked at my nostrils, and a brief exposure to a couple of different styles of CPAP masks.

Despite the tubes and wires, it didn't take all that long to fall asleep. It was almost as though I'm not well-rested.

At some point during the night, they decided they knew enough about my ability to sleep unaided and woke me up to attach a CPAP mask. That made it hard to go back to sleep, not so much because there was a thing strapped to my head but because it was the nose-only sort and I had to keep my mouth closed, which is the opposite of relaxing.

Textual Entertainments: The most recent of Glen Cook's "Garrett" books, Gilded Latten Bones, is weird and not very Garrett-book-like. It's kind of disjointed, but also Garrett doesn't do a whole lot: all the characters from the past N books do. I'm pretty sure this is by design, to show that Garrett is growing up (a little), but it still feels weird to me.

Also I apparently need to reread the past three or four books.

Textual Entertainments, Cont'd: Most Cthulhu mythos (and spin-off) stories are about preventing the rise of the Great Old Ones. The stories in Cthulhu's Reign (edited by Darrell Schweitzer) are about what happens when they inevitably rise anyway. We already know the answer is San loss, mutation, death, and the breakdown of reality, but there are plenty of ways that can play out (a minimum of 4!). Some of these ways are more interesting than others. Alas, I don't think any of the ones in this book were as interesting as "A Colder War".

Visual Entertainments: No anime for me. Sleep study instead.

Cats: I had Marith check in on them. I hear they were fuzzy even when I wasn't observing them myself!

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6 December 2010 - Monday

Work: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Love and Tentacles.

Food: Maybe I should just buy a huge pile of Trader Joe's frozen stuffing and keep it in the fridge for the non-holiday season.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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5 December 2010 - Sunday

Work: No major on-call incidents! Yay!

Gaming: This session, there were no combats. However, there was a bit of sneaking around in the sick man's mansion and trying to give him a heart attack by telling his wife was having an affair with a werewolf, which justified some XP (even though he didn't croak). Also the election was resolved without significant interference from the PCs, so the reform party won.

Next session: combat with the skeletons that are stealing the Soul Sucking Rock!

Food: Pesto works pretty well on chicken strips.

Silly Computer Games: Still can't get anywhere in Mushroom Tower Defense. Bah.

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

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4 December 2010 - Saturday

Work: I had to do a little bit of on-call work, but once I got logged into the system and could see what the guy was doing, I was able to add the requisite environment variable to the crontab file and all became well.

My, the Internet really is full of things: The thermodynamics of money.

Textual Educations: Earth (Richard Fortey) is, again, what it says on the tin: the structure of the Earth, with particular reference to the parts that constrain humans, and how it got to be that way. I had vague ideas about much of this stuff, but the specifics were interesting (Africa is plowing northward into Europe, hence the Alps; the ocean between Europe and NA opened, closed, and is now opening again, which is how some of NA got stuck onto Scotland and some of Europe got stuck onto Newfoundland; the Deccan Traps in India are apparently near the city where cow orkers V and P are and look like giant staircases).

I still can't really picture some of these events where rock flows like thin mud. It seems like it should break instead.

Textual Entertainments: The story of The Right Hand of Dextra (David J Lake) reminds me a lot of Bios (Robert Charles Wilson), only with all the quantum entanglement foolishness replaced with undefined ESP and the chirality of biomolecules. The SFnal ideas seem pretty dated now, but were probably new and interesting in 1977. (The social attitudes were also a few decades less progressive, but, well, it was 1977.)

Food: Check.

Silly Computer Games: Curse you, Mushroom Tower Defense! Why do you mock my feeble efforts so? (I can't even win on the second map, sheesh. Neither upgrading my fungi nor growing huge masses of level 1 fungi seems to work.)

Cats: Aspen and Marmalade are the cutest kitties ever when they curl up together all white and orange on the black comforter.

earth by kit (Fri Dec 10 02:06:58 2010)

that sounds like a good book took. I need to start writing down good books you mention so I can someday read them. (I first typed "write them". doh.)

Re: earth by Trip (Fri Dec 10 09:12:10 2010)

You can write many good books, but I think someone beat you to writing this one. :)

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3 December 2010 - Friday

Work: Last workday in the US for cow orker P. Next week, cow orker G and boss G will probably be out of the office. Oh the doom. At least cow orker S will be here for part of the week, and he is not really a n00b any more.

Food: Yay Rangoon leftovers!

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

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2 December 2010 - Thursday

Work: The last of the upgrade doom had to remind us that it is still doom. Bah.

Visual Entertainments: No Slayers. Work.

Food: Cow orker P, who has been trapped in the US for many months while we didn't have enough people, finally gets to return to India this weekend. Those of us who were around the office (all two of us) gave him a farewall lunch at Kabul Afghan Cuisine in San Carlos, (which is apparently completely unrelated to the Kabul in Sunnyvale). I virtuously got challaw sabsi (spinach gloop with rice), but wickedly got kadu (pumpkin of death).

People who are not me get to eat food from Rangoon. People who are me suck.

(Okay, people who are me get to eat a little Rangoon food, since Marith and Dave brought it by afterwards.)

Cats: Twelve paws!

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1 December 2010 - Wednesday

Work: Worked from home today, which is kind of a pain because the VPN software won't stay connected. If I did this more than a couple percent of workdays, I'd probably have to Take Measures. Since I was out for a big chunk of the middle of the day, I felt obligated to work into the evening, but meh. It's not like I would have been doing anything that great otherwise.

I think the last of the doom from last week's upgrade at Big Customer X is getting cleaned up. Must be time to upgrade someone else.

Modern Medicine: Having coherent radiation applied to my eyestalk was surprisingly anticlimactic. The actual laser part of the event lasted maybe five minutes, and from my point of view was just more of the staring into bright lights that comes with any visit to the eye doctor. (There was a lens that may have been put directly on my eye, which would have been squicky except they gave me so many eye-numbing drops that I couldn't tell.)

Now I just wait for the fluid to drain away over the coming months, I guess.

Textual Entertainments: Genesis (Bernard Beckett) has the feel of an SF story written by someone who doesn't read current SF. The science is relatively modern (clay-based abiogenesis, the memeosystem (though not by name), a discussion of Searle's Chinese room that didn't make me hiss and spit), but otherwise it could have been written in the 60s just as easily as this spring.

Also, the Surprising Revelations™ didn't have enough of the obvious-in-retrospect quality that makes them more than a cheap gimmick. (I want my gimmicks expensive, darn it!)

Food: Check. I should probably find something to put on chicken strips besides salsa.

Silly Computer Games: Hardly any.

Cats: Poor Marmalade did not get to help me work. He was a sad kitty.

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