Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 May 2011 - Tuesday

Work: After having no Internets for most of the weekend, I got to work to relieve my datastarve... and the entire server room lost power. Bah!

My, the Internet really is full of things: Lioness steals camera; makes her own film.

Textual Entertainments: I got Cortez on Jupiter (Ernest Hogan) from the library because someone recommended it, but it failed to impress me. Maybe I'm just suppressing the writing of non-honkeys, but I think it would have been sufficiently novel in the 60s or 70s. By 1990, though, it was all pretty old hat.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Death Note 22-23: Misa-Misa looked so proud of herself when she dragged the disemboweled clue back and dropped it at Light's feet.
  • Clannad 16: Aw, he gave in and told them. I bet he could have kept them going a lot longer.
  • Durarara!! 10-11: We totally were not expecting that!
  • Umineko 15: We were not expecting that either, but it's such a random show we weren't that surprised.

Food: This time Marith cleverly brought her own gorgonzola to add to the Manresa.

Cats: Miau miau miau!

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30 May 2011 - Monday

Work National Holiday: Check!

Internets: I braved the wilds of Palo Alto to buy a new AirPort, and a disk to plug into it to fake a Time Capsule because I really should keep backups of some kind, but I still have no Internets because the information the Aerio support guy gave me still doesn't work.

Bookstore Accidents: Did you know that Borders is right across from the Palo Alto Apple store?

Gaming: I spent most of my travel time thinking about D&D, but it's three weeks until the next session. Long-period gaming may be inevitable at this stage in the life of people who don't suck, but that doesn't mean I like it.

Textual Educations: Isaac Newton, economist and detective! No, it's not Carl's latest con game, it's Newton and the Counterfeiter, by Thomas Levenson.

In the 1690s, England's economy was suffering a serious lack of money. Due to an insufficiently adaptable exchange rate between silver and gold, it was profitable to melt down English silver coins, take the metal to France and trade it for gold, come back to England able to buy more coins, etc. Boom times for counterfeiters!

When the famous and well-connected Newton was appointed Warden of the Royal Mint, that all became his problem. In particular, the extremely ambitious and clever coiner William Chaloner because his problem, particularly once Chaloner started trying to discredit the officers of the Mint so he could get some scam in place. (I said he was ambitious.)

Newton didn't invent the methods of police work and detection, but he had to pick them up on the fly, before Chaloner could convince Parliament to give him the boot, and he had to fulfill his duties at the Mint (and some of his useless colleague's) well enough that Parliament didn't kick him out themselves. But he was Isaac F Newton.

17th-century economics and crime FTW!

Visual Entertainments: More Moribito. That's some psycho doom.

Food: Since I was in Palo Alto anyway, I stopped by Thai City for lunch. Nom!

Cats: The new kit is a little interesting, but not that interesting. Perhaps Aspen doesn't want to be a network admin after all. Or maybe she doesn't want to help me share cat recipes with the other monsters.

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29 May 2011 - Sunday

Gaming: It was okay that I hadn't prepared any new encounters for this week, because the only fight scene was between the PCs and some ostensibly allied gnolls that I already had written up and who they outclassed by about five levels. However, they did carouse, buy a slave, obtain secret knowledge, form several plans, fail to bargain with a kobold commander, rip more secret knowledge from the kobold commander's mind, and set out on a 120-mile nonstop magic horse ride.

I really don't know what the PCs have against the Henyador. Wouldn't you trade wimpy and uncooperative slaves for nerve-stapled demons if you had the chance?

Visual Entertainments: Started Moribito disc 4. Go, heroic old lady!

Food: Ayse demanded KFC

to console her for Ken's absence/raise morale in the face of sleep deprivation/revel in while Ken's not here to make fun of her food choices, so Marith and I helped her. I think that was my entire allotment of grease and salt for the next five years.

Silly Computer Games: Check.

Cats: Paws: still twelve!

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28 May 2011 - Saturday

Internets: FAIL. This afternoon, my AirPort keeled over dead (not that surprising, I guess, since it had been running continuously for something like six years) and took all the configuration I need for Aerio's PPPoE system with it. I called their support line, but the guy on call over the holiday weekend was not very useful. I'll have to try again on Tuesday, I guess.

Food: Dave and I went with Ayse and Baby to the Palo Alto farmers' market and admired the many food items available there. I bought some bread and vegetables, although the odds are only so-so that I will get around to eating them before they expire. Ayse swooned at The Chocolate Garage table.

Food, cont'd: When Marith became available, we all had brunch at Country Gourmet. There much fun with straws and forks and such.

Food, cont'd further: While I was downtown returning library books and ordering stuff at the bookstore, Bangkok Spoon lured me with pumpkin curry.

Gaming: No Thrace, because Ken is at KublaCon. Also, less preparation for tomorrow than I would have liked, because my workflow involves grabbing monsters off the Compendium, editing them, and converting them to PDF for the iPad and that doesn't work so well with no Internets. (I suppose I could have tried grabbing stuff from the Compendium from the iPad over 3G, syncing it to the Mac, editing/converting it, and syncing it back, but I'm trying to keep the 3G usage to a minimum and this doesn't really qualify as an emergency.)

Silly Computer Games: With no Internets, I was forced to play many games of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, very badly.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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27 May 2011 - Friday

Work: Check.

Textual Educations: Born To Run (Christopher McDougall) is about humans and long-distance running, as exemplified by an obscure tribe in the wilds of the Sierra Madres who are locally famous for running incessantly over horrifying badly and being extremely mellow. Also discussed: persistence hunting, running as the ideal exercise for the human body and mind, loons who run a hundred kilometers or more over mountains for fun, and the advantages of running as nearly barefoot as possible.

I haven't looked up any of the studies, but it's at least superficially plausible that fancy shoes defeat many of the human foot's adaptations for running, and it's definitely plausible that Nike et al would keep introducing fancier shoes that don't add any actual performance or safety.

Sequential Entertainments: I finally reread/caught up on Kagerou after foolishly neglecting it for some time. It is still quite awesome.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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26 May 2011 - Thursday

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments: Slayers Try 24-26: the finale! (SPOILER: the world is not completely destroyed.) Next we have some OAVs, and then on to Slayers Revolution and Slayers Evolution R (and then Volution RE, Olution REV, ...).

Food: Chef Liu takeout with crispy eggplant, yay!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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25 May 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Big Customer X exploded in a horrible burst of hard drive failures (boo moving parts), but we managed to save almost all their data.

Gaming: I'm so bad at running combats that it's totally fair to give the PCs twice the monsters for half the XP, right?

Textual Educations: I made the library lend me Beyond Bullet Points (Cliff Atkinson) in hopes of escaping the horrible read-the-bullet-points-aloud PowerPoint tradition, but I don't know how much it will actually help. Atkinson's three-act-story-based method seems like it would work much better for a policy presentation than for training. I should check out some of the research he cites on how to get people to absorb information, though.

Silly Computer Games: Check.

Cats: Kitties!

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24 May 2011 - Tuesday

Modern Medicine: The CPAP headgear makes it hard for Marmalade to sit on the headboard and groom my hair, at least without clawing up the straps. This makes both of us sad.

Work: Check. I still think people should just give me money for the privilege of having me on their planet.

Gaming: I really should figure out which of the many potential kobold secret weapons is the one they actually have. Also how the PCs could find this out before it's too late.

Sequential Entertainments: 7 Billion Needles (Nobuaki Tadano) is based on a short story by the late Hal Clement, but more resembles This Ugly Yet Beautiful World. Why is there so much evolution fail? (Because humans can't imagine a universe that doesn't revolve around them.)

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Dave says the quest where you use the demons' own felcannons against them just requires clicking on the key and then surviving until the cannon turns around. In theory Zmorcia should be able to do this by zonking the demon and then going invulnerable (hopefully the time it takes the cannon to stop shooting her is not large compared to 8 seconds). But there is no WoW tonight.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Death Note 21: There is no way in which any of these plans can possibly go wrong.
  • Clannad 14-15: Kotomi: awww! Sunohara: WTF, dude? Chillax!
  • Durarara!! 9: That's messed up along several axes.
  • Umineko 13-14: Oh, that's who the chicks who show up in Umineko cosplay pictures are.

Food: Marith had a sandwich, so instead of spending money on pizza, I pillaged Dave's left-over red curry with peas and chicken. Even with the coconut milk, it was probably still better for me than pizza, plus: red coconut-milk curry!

Cats: So very fuzzy!

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23 May 2011 - Monday

Work: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Dance of the pendulums.

Sequential Entertainments: I finally finished reading Schlock Mercenary all the way from the beginning to the current strip. It was pretty swell, but boy is it long.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia went back to try to finish up the last bits of Nagrand, but there are no instructions on using the key to take command of the felcannons! So she beat up a bunch of demons to get diamond dust to trade for tokens to trade for the jewelcrafting recipe in Halaa.

Cats: Still opaque!

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22 May 2011 - Sunday

Gaming: I keep thinking minions should be good for something, but they really aren't. There are too many powers that have a huge area and don't require an attack roll. But maybe I could use minions with ranged attacks, so they don't have to ever be near anyone? Still probably wouldn't work.

Also I'm too stupid to have elites use their action points when they are in position to do double attacks with a pile of bonus damage on each one.

After the free XP handout at the beginning of the session, the PCs got to admire a giant mechanical flying whale and visit the revival of the great gnollish empire of days past (no really). Now they're being hired to find out what the kobold's secret weapon is before it gets used on the revived empire. Surely nothing can go wrong.

Bonus extra D&D next week, since people aren't available in two weeks.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia's sempai Grainne (12 levels higher) helped her with a bunch of quests in Shadowmoon Valley that she couldn't solo. Some of them she could probably have done on her own if I didn't suck, but some I'm pretty sure no level 70 could solo.

Silly Computer Games: Check.

Cats: Marmalade and Ghirardelli are both magnificently opaque.

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21 May 2011 - Saturday

Modern Medicine: I finally got around to fasting for 12+ hours so I could go in to the lab and get more samples taken. So hungry!

Food: Yay, Garden Fresh has saved me!

My, the Internet really is full of things: CDC Warning On Zombie Apocalypse. Be prepared! (Don't read the comments, people on the Internets are dumb.)

Textual Educations: The Gun (C J Chivers) is specifically about the AK-47 and its derivatives, but more generally about automatic weapons and how they have changed warfare over the past century and change. Apparently it took most armies a surprisingly long time to clue in to the advantages of automatic weapons; Maxim and even Gatling guns could be devastating when used correctly, but almost no one did — until WWI when they found out the hard way that Germany had been paying attention. (Hiram Maxim sounds like he was quite a colorful character, pronounced "sociopathic asshole", but Gatling was of only average sleaziness for a businessman in the Libertopia that was the late 19th century.)

Russia was also an early adopter of automatic weapons, even before the revolution, and by the end of WWII the Soviets were convinced that every soldier needed one, so they started a project to develop an automatic rifle that any random schmoe could pick up and use on the capitalist running dog lackeys. How much Mikhail Kalashnikov contributed to that project is unclear (Stalin-era Soviet records, not so useful in determining what actually happened), but "Loyal and hardworking common man conjures new weapon to defend Socialism through sheer dedication" fit too well with the Communist mythology for it to be passed up, so he got the credit and the fancy car and the promotions due to the inventor of the People's Automatic Rifle.

For contrast, Chivers digresses into the screwed-up genesis of the M16 in the 1960s, in some detail. It was so astonishingly lame that it's not at all surprising a belief in the complete incompetence of military procurement persists fifty years later.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union produced and stockpiled huge numbers of AK-47s, and both produced more to distribute as bribes and helped set up factories in all the countries they wanted as allies. Since the weapons (at least the original design) last for decades, there are now huge numbers of all over the world, in all kinds of hands (mostly ones that don't have access to a First World military-industrial complex, ie scary brown people) and will be for decades to come. This is bad, but being able to arm random schmoes with grudges is so useful that there's no hope of anyone ever seriously doing anything about it.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Huh, Shadowmoon Valley is a lot tougher than Nagrand/Terokkar Forest! Also, not very scenic. I guess it is pretty close to Hellfire Peninsula.

Visual Entertainments: Disc 3 of Moribito. That certainly looks like impending doom on a national scale.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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20 May 2011 - Friday

Work: Almost the entire company was at an offsite (bocce, I think), so in theory this should have been an excellent day to get things done. However, I am not an excellent person to get things done.

Cats: I checked on Jinian and Aime, who are both very furry and also appreciate gooshyfood.

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19 May 2011 - Thursday

Work: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things: I think people who are into history or pedantry or both would appreciate Fuck Yeah, History Major Heraldic Beast.

Textual Entertainments: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate me (edited by Kate Bernheimer) is a collection of retellings of fairy tales, stories inspired by fairy tales, etc. I didn't quite finish it before the library wanted it back, but I got about ¾ of the way through, and most of the stories, although they often did have a fairy-tale feel to the language, were either hallucinatorily strange, or mundane and depressing. (One exception: Neil Gaiman's story, which I found both amusing and orange.) I am saddened, and will probably not bother to check the book out again when the person who had a hold on it is finished.

Visual Entertainments: No Slayers Try, because Ken and Ayse must back frantically for their expedition to Ken's sister's wedding.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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18 May 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Spent all day watching a person do a thing and then doing the thing when he had to go to bed (what with it being 1am in his time zone). But it did eventually work, mostly, after we got an engineer to look at it.

Visual Entertainments: Finished the second disc of Moribito. Why yes, divination magic does make it hard to cover up your crimes.

Cats: Adorably fuzzy, but probably not going to get any salsa!

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17 May 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Cow orker M is apparently doing quite well, at least for someone who just had surgery.

Textual Educations: On Killing (David A Grossman) primarily considers the psychological effects of killing/not killing/learning to kill within a military context, possibly because the author is career Army and a counselor (as of 1996, when the book was published).

In the first part of the book, the author establishes that humans are innately very reluctant to kill other humans; when they do, the psychological effects are severe and fall into distinct patterns and; there are fairly obvious factors that can keep those effects from turning into PTSD or similar (eg, experienced leadership and unit bonding during the war, decompression time and social approval afterwards). Grossman appears to support his points adequately, although I could have done with less glorification of the military.

The second part: by the Vietnam war, the US military was very good at overcoming the reluctance to kill with more realistic training, more thorough desensitization, etc, but handling of the psychological consequences was much worse than in WWII, and civilian society provided the exact opposite of approval, leaving hundreds of thousands of veterans severely and unnecessarily screwed up.

The final section is where I think he goes off the rails. That he can tie his conservative OMG slasher movies video games decline of 1950s family structure rising violent crime crack fiends BBQWTF into the earlier parts of the book doesn't change the fact that the violent crime rate had passed its peak by the time he was writing (based on these Uniform Crime Reporting numbers I'm looking at right now).

In conclusion, I'm not sure I buy everything he says, but I can't complain about telling people, "Killing messes you up, bad".

Visual Entertainments:

  • Death Note 19-20: Matsuda, you idiot.
  • Clannad 13: Aw, the gardening of friendship.
  • Durarara!! 7-8: More character background, and MORE DOOM.
  • Umineko 12: Maybe that's a title, not a name.

Food: A Manresa plus gorgonzola is tasty, but very thin and expensive. But tasty!

Cats: Twelve paws that got no gorgonzola!

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16 May 2011 - Monday

Work: Check.

Silly Computer Games: Hm, new version of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. I'll have to play it more to decide if I like it better.

Cats: Ghirardelli is sometimes making wheezy horky noises, but he seems fine afterwards, and it's not like cats don't make horky noises all the time. But I will worry.

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15 May 2011 - Sunday

Work: On-call calls: still 0! I am teh winz0r! With a capital 0!

My, the Internet really is full of things: If only it really worked this way.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Nagrand has been fully explored, and Zmorcia is level 70! Nagrand is almost quest-free except for one elite she can't take (Durn the Hungererer) and a quest chain that will probably lead back to that side of the mountains and then peter out in a dungeon quest. Terokkar Forest still has a few quests, but not very many.

Maybe I'll skip Shadowmoon Valley and the Mountains of Spiky Spikes, check Netherstorm (which has a recommendation), and then go to Northrend. (And then Zmorcia will die horribly upon encounting content that's actually of her level and go back to Outlands.)

Visual Entertainments: Now Marith knows about the Black Rider too.

Food: After Vegan Black Metal Pad Thai, I had a great desire for pad thai, so I dragged some books back to the library as an excuse to go downtown and then crawled over to Bangkok Spoon and nommed. I dunno, it's just not the same without the growling and the spiky fantasy knives.

Silly Computer Games: I have what seems like a good character in Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, but I still die all the bloody time. Cheat files for the (invalid) win.

Cats: Marmalade wanted so badly to trim Marith's hair! But she already has a hairdresser!

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14 May 2011 - Saturday

Work: On-call calls: 0!

Food: Toad-in-the-hole does not involve actual toads (although it does involve actual holes). It is yummy and terribly unhealthy.

Gaming: We actually played Thrace for a couple of hours! The goblins were so lame we felt bad about beating them up, but anyone who brings a jar of centipedes to a thunderwave fight is pretty much asking for it.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Bah, nobody bought Zmorcia's netherweave cloth. Apparently 12 gold per stack of 20 really is the price. And now she has more, because almost every quest involves beating up humanoids who drop it.

Visual Entertainments: I started the next disc of Moribito. That's a pretty freaky way to check someone for magic. Also, impending DOOOOOOM.

Cats: Still twelve paws!

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13 May 2011 - Friday

Work: Cow orker M apparently had his knee operated on, but we don't know the results yet.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Ornithopter!

Textual Educations: Possibly I have read too many popular books on books on paleontology/evolutionary biology to appreciate Written in Stone as much as I did Brian Switek's blog, but it is still pretty good. The examples used to illustrate the principles include the evolution of whales, horses, elephants, birds, and some primates that think they're all that.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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12 May 2011 - Thursday

Work: Bleah, customers.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Vegan Black Metal Pad Thai (via Ken).

Visual Entertainments: Slayers Try 22-23: the gold dragons are kind of goofy-looking, but they still didn't deserve that. (Also, Erulogos and Sirius remind me of the devil girls from Sinfest.)

Food: We had pasta and salad, not vegan black metal pad thai. Maybe next week!

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

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11 May 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Now cow orker S has gone on vaction. I sure hope no customers explode until next week.

My, the Internet really is full of things: These myths retold made me laugh until I choked, so if you want to know what it takes to choke a space parasite, here you go. (Warning: not for people who object to cussing or vulgarity. But what are those people doing on the Internets?)

My, the Internet really is full of things: Cyberneko-chan is go! (via Not Exactly Rocket Science)

Cats: Twelve paws!

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10 May 2011 - Tuesday

Work: It turns out cow orker M's knee is so horked up it needs surgery. :( At this time, we have no idea how long he'll be out of comission.

My, the Internet really is full of things:

Textual Entertainments: My knowledge of literature from outside the US is almost nil (kind of like my knowledge of any literature whatsoever), but Metropole (Ferenc Karinthy) feels very Eastern-European. I think it's what people who haven't read Kafka call Kafka-esque. This may have something to do with having been written by a Hungarian dude.

Anyway, it's got failure to communicate, alienation from humanity, incomprehensible yet brutal social structures, hot elevator attendants, events that sweep up even those that don't understand them, and tanks in the streets — everything you want from a serious European novel, right? The ending is at least ambiguous, though, rather than outright doomed, so it's not necessary to sink into a slough of despond after reading it.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Death Note 18: We're almost halfway done, and hardly any named characters have died horrible gruesome deaths. What's up with that?
  • Clannad 11-12: SPOILER: the main character is dense about romance, and the cute girl has a tragic past.
  • Durarara!! 6: Now we know more about both the guys in the van and the Dollars.
  • Umineko 10-11: That round goes to Beatrice.

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

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9 May 2011 - Monday

Work: Cow orker M took a spill on his motorcycle over the weekend and is now laid up with a broken knee, a broken toe, and road rash. His wife only got the road rash. Fortunately we're massively overstaffed so it's no big deal when life happen— no, wait, that's Earth-937c I'm thinking of.

Personally, I can't imagine riding a motorcyle without adequate armor, but that may be because I've heard the phrase, "human crayon".

Cats: Cats don't have Mondays. Is that fair?

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8 May 2011 - Sunday

Work: No work today.

Gaming: Goodreader has failed me! It works, but switching from one document to another, even in the same directory, takes four correctly-placed taps where iAnnotate PDF with its tabbed UI takes only one. Sorry, Goodreader.

The combat encounter was lame because the monsters were too unified in concept and could be shut down by a single application of Mass Resistance. Maybe I shouldn't have given out full XP for it.

Level UP! 13 is the level where PCs stop getting more powers and just upgrade the ones they have, which may or may not have any effect on what kind of horrifying monstrosities they become.

At least there was something to talk to this session, even if a kobold nailed upside-down to a tree by her tail isn't a scintillating conversationalist.

If I were clever, I would make a wiki to store things like what kinds of names different races have and, you know, everything. Then I could browse it from my iPad.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Did a few more of the quests in Terokkar Forest. Soon, back to Nagrand, I guess.

Visual Entertainments: More Moribito. Oh the doom.

Cats: Marmalade investigated my breakfast cereal, but then discovered that it was cunning bait for a CARNIVOROUS HEAD-EATING CRUNKLEBAG! OH NO! FLEE FLEE!

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7 May 2011 - Saturday

Work: I did a little work because boss G, who is on call, got flooded with people complaining they were doomed, but it wasn't too bad.

Gaming: Those seem slimy and horrible, I'll put some in tomorrow's adventure!

Textual Educations: In A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly, Marc "Animal" MacYoung expands on the basic principle that every second you spend fighting is a chance for Murphy to hit you upside the head with his law. (Obviously, zero seconds is the best duration for a fight, and there's some discussion of what approaches to take with different kind of drunken idiots, but mostly this book is about what to do when the troublemaker is already hitting the fan.)

The author is a big proponent of knowing basic principles over specific techniques. When you know that the three basic ways of making someone fall down are to push them, pull them, or take their support out from under them, you can probably do something reasonable even if your opponent hasn't obligingly assumed the correct position for any of the specific moves you've practiced (but here are some examples).

I don't buy much of his macho evolutionary psychology (or maybe it's still sociobiology) but whatever.

MacYoung is writing to people in violence-prone professions (police, security/bouncers, ER orderlies, etc), as one of them, so this book was of only academic interest to me, but maybe I can write infinitesimally better fight scenes now.

Food: I ate at both Chef Chu and Thai City today, but for some reason I did not get a fancy box at the bottom of my field of view congratulating me on my accomplishment.

Silly Computer Games: I stayed up until 87342569125 o'clock playing Bookworm, but I got a score of 560560 and the coveted title Thesaurus Rex. I think that's enough Bookworm for a while.

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6 May 2011 - Friday

Work: Check.

Textual Entertainments: Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides) is the story of a family of Greek immigrants, from their escape from Turkey in 1922 to the messed-up life of the product of their poor genetic planning two generations later. (Funny how being a teenager doesn't get any better when you subvert the gender binary.) That makes it sound dismal, but I don't think it really is. No more dismal than most people's lives, anyway although possibly more dramatic.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia has now explored all of Terokkar Forest! The number of new quests is finally below replacement, too. And, she made it to Jewelcrafting 350, so she was able to get like thirty new recipes, which all use stuff she's never seen.

Visual Entertainments: Watched another bit of Moribito. Cue the ninjas!

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

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5 May 2011 - Thursday

Work: Apparently the script I wrote to fix the problem at the customer almost worked. So I almost helped someone today. Almost yay!

My, the Internet really is full of things: One generation, new species.

Gaming: I know some stuff about where the PCs are going next, but I have no idea what they will do for XP when they get there. If it were WoW, there would be lots of people going, "Hi! I have a giant yellow exclamation mark over my head, and although I have no idea who you are, I'd like you to run all sorts of important errands for me!" but that's dumb.

Textual Availability: The Mountain View Public Library and Link+ are too efficient at granting my requests! Today I had no fewer than seven books to pick up, three of them Link+ books that I have a strictly limited amount of time to read.

Maybe I should play fewer computer games. Or read while walking.

Visual Entertainments: Marith couldn't make it, so instead of watching Slayers Try without her, the rest of us chillaxed and looked for the lost art of conversation.

Food: For lunch I only had a pile of snap peas and a small amount of leftover Chinese food, but then Ayse and I pillaged the BBQ Kalbi truck on our way back from the library. I tried the bibimbap burrito with beef, which was pretty good.

Silly Computer Games: Apparently I never get so sleepy that going to bed seems like a better idea than playing another few minutes of Bookworm.

Cats: Aspen chased the Red Dot, but she is far too cautious to let it lead her near the cat-eating monster.

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4 May 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Argh, customers. Argh, new version.

Gaming: Stayed up too late coming up with treasure for last week's PAD&D session. I guess sometime I should work on this coming week's session.

Sequential Entertainments: I'm now all caught up on Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic (Rich Morris). Like many webcomics that start off silly, it has become more serious over time, and I think I liked the earlier stuff with the monsters better, but that is because I am shallow. Anyway, it's still pretty swell. Maybe PAD&D should be more like that.

Cats: Still twelve paws, still fuzzy!

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3 May 2011 - Tuesday

Work: I finally did the Environmental, Health, & Safety and Code of Conduct online trainings for the new corporate overlords. I missed one question in the EHS course, which I think was legitimately ambiguous in the manual and isn't relevant to me anyway, and Windows 7 activated its "click on a random button if the mouse pointer stops moving" feature during the Code of Conduct training, but I knew what the actual right answer was, so I'm declaring success anyway.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Clannad 10: New plot arc! Er, maybe. A different (but also excessively cute) girl is getting center stage, anyway.
  • Durarara!! 4-5: Now we know all about the Black Rider! And some about Kida.
  • Umineko 9: What, is Battler giving up already?
  • Death Note 16-7: And now, the voluntary mindwipe part of the story.

Cats: So fuzzy!

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2 May 2011 - Monday

Work: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things:

Textual Educations: Round in Circles (Jim Schnabel) is an account of the crop circle phenomenon in England, from the late 70s to the early 90s. There were a lot of wacky, petty, vindictive, and self-aggrandizing people involved, and many of them believed in very silly things. In the end, of course, it was revealed that the circles were all made by perfectly ordinary humans and the people who believed very silly things looked even more foolish. The guy who was sure they were produced by meteorology also looked foolish, but at least he was just misled, not actually crazy.

Cats: Sometimes, cats are disgusting. But the rest of the time they are fuzzy.

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1 May 2011 - Sunday

Work: Still glad I'm not on call.

Gaming: I still suck as a GM, but the iPad works pretty well for keeping notes (monster writeups, etc). Cutting and pasting from the Compendium into TextEdit on my desktop keeps the formatting pretty well, so I can edit the monsters into more horrible forms and have a record of what I did, and then export them as PDFs to the iPad. I've been using iAnnotate PDF, but Jeremy recommended Goodreader. I'll have to try it out and see if it makes it easier to be organized.

(The Compendium app is a little faster to use, but it doesn't let you filter by level, so I don't use it much.)

I still used paper for tracking of monster hit points, statuses, and power recharges, because I can't write small enough or type fast enough on the iPad with my big fat tentacles, and index cards for tracking initiative, but that's okay.

What kind of loot should dead fire giants have? Besides an illegal frog-popper and a perpetually burning rock, I mean.

Sequential Entertainments: I think Tenken (by Yumiko Shirai) was good, but the visual style was different enough from what I'm used to that I had a hard time following it. People who are not lame and uncultured like me will probably like it.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia trundled around Nagrand for a while, but meh.

Just a little more prospecting and she can make it to the next tier of Jewelcrafting!

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

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