Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 December 2011 - Saturday

Idleness: For extra bonus idleness, I went to be idle at Earl and Cat's all night. We were all pretty idle.

Food: The traditional New Year's Eve fondue of Earl! In addition to being idle, we were sated!

Gaming: This time Ken only won Dominion with 70 points.

Cats: Earl and Cat's cats are pretty swell, almost as good as my cats.

Suckfulness: I have now spent the entire year full of suck! Do I get XP?

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30 December 2011 - Friday

Idleness: Check.

Textual Entertainments: Siren Song (Cat Adams) is the sequel to Blood Song, in which Our Heroine finds that her backstory has even more problems than she originally thought.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Check.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Suckfulness: Continues unabated.

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29 December 2011 - Thursday

Vacation: Marith and I went with Ayse and Ken and Ja Baby to Santa Cruz to admire the ocean. Ja Baby finds breaking waves loud and scary, but the beach also had dogs and kites, which met with her approval.

Food: We had breakfast at Walnut Ave Cafe, and then because we could, we had lunch there too. Om nom nom!

Gaming: Santa Cruz has a gaming store, so we checked it out, but they had almost nothing I wanted. I got the other Gamma World expansion (Legion of Gold), but it's very unclear whether I'll ever use it.

Textual Entertainments: Silver Screen (Justina Robson) is from 1999, so it has nanotech of various kinds, but overall it's pretty much cyberpunk. The main character is messed up in more mundane ways than usual for cyberpunk, but on the other hand, she can phone up an AI and get it to do favors... with her brain. Pity about the AI being doomed.

Blood Song (Cat Adams) is urban fantasy in a high-magic setting, which includes some really scary precogs (who are somehow not as helpful as one might hope, as is traditional). The protagonist is a professional bodyguard, so there are scenes of action and derring-do, but most of the challenges she faces are social: as a partially-vampirized abomination, should she be tossed into the California State Oubliette with the vampires? How traumatized are her friends when they get mind-controlled to rat her out? What is she going to do about her mom being in jail again? Also people trying to kill her and ex-boyfriends and stuff.

Sequential Entertainments: Junko Mizuno is so very strange. Little Fluffy Gigolo PELU vol 1 features what is essentially a stray reproductive cell from the planet of parthenogenetic naked women, ghosts, depression, small dogs, and a carnivorous space hippo with a magic mirror. And more naked women.

Dungeon: Twilight vol 1 (Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim) is European, cartoony, and full of crazy dragons. Also, a giant red rabbit with fangs, and a small bat.

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

Suckfulness: Check.

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28 December 2011 - Wednesday

Idleness: Check.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: I've been doing the Regrowth/Firelands dailies to try to at least get access to them all, but they take so much time that when I finish, I don't want to go on to Uldum. I wonder if I will actually get around to seeing all the Cataclysm content before I stop playing.

Silly Computer Games: I've been playing FAangband, which is slightly less abandoned than most Angband variants, and unusual in that most of the "levels" are wilderness regions. There are dungeon levels, but I haven't found a way to get to them except by falling down a trapdoor.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Suckfulness: Check.

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27 December 2011 - Tuesday

Idleness: Check.

Textual Entertainments: The Cardinal's Blades (Pierre Pevel) is Musketeer-era fantasy with ancient dragons as the fantastic element, written by an actual French dude. It is quite full of intrigue and period detail, and also full of characters. I think there were too many characters for the amount of book, but perhaps that's because I'm not French. On the other hand, there were plenty of cliffhangers to suggest that there will be more books, so presumably all the characters will get their chance to betray their allegiances shine.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Check.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Suckfulness: Check.

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26 December 2011 - Monday

Work: Still no customers, and now I'm done being on call and can be on vacation for real!

Idleness: Check.

Sequential Entertainments: When I tried reading the first few volumens of One Piece (Eiichiro Oda), I didn't see what the fuss was about, but the library has a bunch of it and I have nothing better to do, so I got a few more volumes. It's very shounen (subvariety fighting and honor, not cheesecake — the art style is so goofy I'm not sure cheesecake would be possible) but I'm still not sure why people think it's so great.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Suckfulness: Check.

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25 December 2011 - Sunday


Work: One customer called to ask about the thing, but I explained that the whole point of it was that it was an exact duplicate of the other thing, so it would work just the same. They didn't call back.

Gaming: Ken gave Ayse Dominion: Prosperity for Christmas, so we played a couple of games with that and Dominion Classic mixed. I lucked into a win, but then Ken figured out the strategy and crushed us with 86 points. Sheesh.

Food: Space penguins stole the roasting pan, so Ayse made the Internets divulge the secrets of alternate poultrification. Braising the lower half of the turkey while the breast roasted worked excellently!

Random Encounters: Ja Baby's best friend and her parents came to Christmas dinner and helped us feed upon the turkey. There may have been eggnog as well.

Cats: Double gooshyfood for Christmas!

Suckfulness: Check.

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24 December 2011 - Saturday

Work: The customers did not call today.

Holidays: Shop! Shop! OK!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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23 December 2011 - Friday

Work: It's extra bonus Friday because I don't have to come back in to the office until next year, but it's not real Friday because I'm on call for the next three days.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia has finally accumulated 150 marks of the World Tree, so she can get access to another set of Firelands dailies! These ones are much harder and involve a lot of dying, because I am the worst WoW player ever.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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22 December 2011 - Thursday

Work: Boss G thinks we need to do something about weekend coverage, especially since we're getting more customers who will eventually call us on weekends. The current leading proposal is for everyone to have a different work-week (Tu-Sa, Su-Th, etc), which would work but might cut into my weekend activities. Bah.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Platonic Chain 22-24 + special: Those had almost no PlaChe in them at all. Also, the special was apparently done by different people with a much lower budget.
  • Baccano! 6: You know that old lady from the earlier episode? She was right. Plus, we get to see the infamous Dallas Genoard.
  • Fractale 3-4: Those rebels are a lot more hard-core than they originally seemed.
  • Gosick 19: The backstory of DOOOOOOM!

Next year: Rocket Girls!

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

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21 December 2011 - Wednesday

Work: I am becoming less abysmally dismal at ping-pong. Oh, and there were some customers today too.

Textual Entertainments: I don't know anything about Jerry Jay Carroll, but Top Dog has very much the feel of a fantasy novel written by someone who's heard fantasy described, but hasn't read very much. I suspect more theologically-inclined readers would find the cosmology equally unsophisticated. On the other hand, being a dog is cool.

Sequential Entertainments: Vampire Cheerleaders vol 2 (Adam Arnold, Shiei, Ian Cang) is still completely lacking in redeeming social value.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Thwarted by ineptitudefulosity!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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20 December 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Food: Ken made chicken with capers, sage, and some other stuff, and also risotto and dinosaur kale.

Visual Entertainments: One episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and part of Eddie Izzard's Glorious. I think I would have appreciated the Fry and Laurie more if I knew more about Britain in the 80s, but they are still very silly people.

Eddie Izzard's piece about the biblical flood being a free pass for anything that floats or swims is further support for the idea that Christianity is just a degenerate form of Cthulhu worship. Of course Cthulhu doesn't punish the killer squid!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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19 December 2011 - Monday

Work: Check.

Textual Entertainments: The Wooden Star is another book of short stories by William Tenn, full of snark at the unending idiocy of humans.

Food: I now have two fridges, one of which works, so I put all the food in that one (except the large amount of old food I finally disposed of, and the large amount of frozen food I gave to Marith). Tomorrow, the now-empty, non-working, one will disappear mysteriously.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Thwarted by grocery shopping!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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18 December 2011 - Sunday

Work: Not on call today!

Gaming: After slogging through a swamp in a hailstorm and being mugged by shadar-kai, the PCs devised a plan to get their kidnap target to go voluntarily to the pickup point near the Onyx Tree. It involves an onyx pomegranate and some number of fast-talk rolls, leading inevitably to bloodshed.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Once again, by the time Zmorcia had all the Hyjal/Firelands dailies, it was too late to do much with Uldum except find out that baby crocs are nasty.

Food: My fridge has stopped working! I must keep it closed until a new one is installed, so no frozen samosas for me!

Cats: When the manager came over to verify that my fridge is in fact dead, Marmalade was very friendly, because he is an excellent cat. Ghirardelli at least didn't trash-talk her, which he has been known to do when she walks past his window. (Aspen was not in evidence.)

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17 December 2011 - Saturday

Work: On call for the third weekend in a row, but Big Customer X seems to be quieting down after last night.

Food: Bacon, french toast, and bacon.

Gaming: We tried the rivers variant from Catan: Traders & Barbarians. Dave and I were barely positive on victory points when Ken suddenly won.

Food, part II: Posole! Also Austrians, although we only ate with Phillip and Verena, as Ayse maintains her strong anti-cannibalism stance.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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16 December 2011 - Friday

Work: New cow orker A was out today, so Boss G came in even though he's still sick. Germs for all! But I appreciate the help, especially since Big Customer X is spazzing out again.

Gaming: Technoir (Jeremy Keller) is straight cyberpunk, only slightly modernized (universal connectivity is universal), with a noir bent and a very narrative system. There are a handful of standard skills that everyone has, but beyond that everything is done with "adjectives" that let you spend extra dice or cancel out other dice when they apply, and have various durations — aspects, in other words. Characters, equipment, relationships, etc, all have adjectives, and the only action in the game is to add adjectives to or remove adjectives from things. If your PC gets adjectives representing physical harm, you have to roll at the end of the scene to see if they get the adjective "dying" or even "dead" (which can be removed! unless it's permanent) and the same roll determines whether you can raise one of the skills you've used.

The recommended GMing technique is to get a few items from a 1d6×1d6 table ("transmission") of contacts/items/events/locations/threats/factions, forming a plot map as you figure out how each one is related to the previous ones, then add in any connections PCs hit up for favors during chargen and start the mayhem. Three transmissions are provided (LA, Singapore, beanstalk port on top of Kilimanjaro), I'm sure there are more online, and nothing stops you from making up your own. Are Fiasco's playsets also becoming part of the mainstream RPG memepool?

I do not understand why Carl has not added magic to this already.

Textual Entertainments: Angel Town (Lilith Saintcrow) is the sixth and final volume in the "Jill Kismet" series, in which the heroine dies only as much as necessary. Saintcrow's habit of using the exact same words for a thing every time it's mentioned is still in full force.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Thwarted by customers!

Cats: Miau miau squack!

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15 December 2011 - Thursday

Work: Too many customers! Boss G, who was trying to be home sick, instead had to log in and work from home. We did eventually get it all straightened out, but not until the afternoon.

Visual Entertainments: Thursday Night Anime is still on Thursday!

  • Platonic Chain 19-21: It's true, a panopticon society has its flaws, but I'm still pretty sure Rica would have an easier time of it if she kept better track of her boyfriends.
  • Baccano! 4-5: Train of DOOOOOM!
  • Gosick 18: Train of DOOOOOM!
  • Fractale 1-2: I see, it goes Juiz -> PlaChe -> Fractale.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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14 December 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Check.

Textual Entertainments: Of All Possible Worlds is a collection of short stories by William Tenn, from the dawn, or at least early morning, of modern SF. They are very much products of their time, but quite funny.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: The dailies that are in Hyjal only provide about a third of the marks of the World Tree that Zmorcia can get in a day, but take longer than the ones in the Firelands (more travel, lower yield). If they weren't all dailies, I'd blow them off, but then it would take even longer to find out what happens when she gets to 150.

Cats: Hello, extremely opaque cats!

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13 December 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Gaming: Apparently tonight it was my turn to win two games of Dominion, although I had no strategy beyond "show eight treasure, buy a province". W00t!

Textual Entertainments: The Royal Changeling (John Whitbourn) is in the supernatural-events-behind-historical-goings-on genre, although I don't know enough about late-17th-century British history to tell what liberties have been taken. In any case, it is blackly humorous, and also full of bonking.

Visual Entertainments: Marith is stuck at work forever and ever, so it would have been mean to watch Lucifer without her.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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12 December 2011 - Monday

Work: Bleah, work. At least we can make Cow Orker M do all the work today and tomorrow, before he escapes for two weeks.

Gaming: In In Flames (Greg Saunders), the PCs are criminals exiled from an interdimensional post-Singularity utopia, cast out into the bodies of people in the solar system that the post-humans keep around as a vast living soap opera until they expiate their crimes... by beating people up! Okay, not necessarily, but it is explicitly an action game, and it has villains built in, in the form of post-humans who get too attached to riding a particular person and cause the person to go out of control. If the PCs do this enough, they can reduce their guilt ratings to 0 and get accepted back into utopia.

(Both the nature of the crimes and the nature of the utopia are defined as the game goes on, by flashbacks when the PCs use their memories of their crime or their previous existence to get bonuses.)

The Flame system and its worlds (I would say "planets" but they're mostly moons of gas giants) get a few pages of description, which are probably technically enough, but insufficiently evocative. It's a fairly standard firm-SF setting, with a few gaffes (shipping bulk food and fuel oil across interplanetary distances?!). There seems to be at least limited AI and all sorts of uplifts from native species, in addition to humans, but no detail and no suggestion that they can be used as PCs.

The system is a simple variant of d6, with only four stats (two mental stats that came with the exile, two physical stats from the poor schmoe whose mind was overwritten) and a fairly short skill list. No Force points in evidence.

There's a lot of voodoo terminology (the post-humans are called Loas because they ride people, the agent that wrangles exiles into being useful is called Ghede, even the chapters of the book have names that are voodoo terms). I don't know enough to know whether this ranks on the Cultural Misappropriation Scale or not.

Could be good, but only if the GM can bring some flavor and evocativeness.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: At this rate, five more rounds of Hyjal/Firelands dailies should get Zmorcia to 150 marks of the World Tree, at which point something will happen.

Cats: I wish I knew how to make Aspen not fear me.

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11 December 2011 - Sunday

Work: No, customers! Do not explode! Sigh.

Gingerbread Party: FAIL. Because customers.

Sequential Entertainments: Blood Blockage Battlefront (Yasuhiro Nightow, most famous for Trigun) is the sort of city fantasy that I have a weakness for, along with Hyper Police and Dream Gold. This is probably what I keep wanting from Nexus but failing at.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: I got started on dailies early enough that when they were done, there was still time for Zmorcia to do some Uldum quests. And, she finally mined a pyrite deposit! Soon, all power will be hers!

Food: A mushroom-leek strudel sounds like it should be good, but somehow it is not very interesting. Oh well.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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10 December 2011 - Saturday

Ja Baby: Check!

Food: Bacon, home fries, eggs with goat cheese, toast, and bacon.

Gaming: The first game of Dominion was very frustrating for some people because they kept getting Minion'd (or sometimes Torturer'd or Masquerade'd) whenever they got good hands. I used Wishing Well to wish for Coppersmith to turn copper into gold twice in a row, but Dave won and I came in second to last. The second game had no attack cards, but many hybrid victory cards. I leapt from copper to gold again, but Dave won by buying up a bunch of Great Halls, and I came in second to last again. Gold, why do you betray me so?

Food II: Electric Boogaloo: Pasta with fennel, sausage, tentacle-crushed tomatoes, and more fennel. Also, golden beets.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Oh, that's where the quest receiver on the other side of the Firelands portal is, and what you have to do to complete the quest. Sheesh. Once that got straightened out, Zmorcia was able to do many exciting dailies and get a bunch of Marks of the World Tree, which she will eventually be able to turn in for... the ability to do more dailies.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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9 December 2011 - Friday

Work: I'm not officially on call this weekend, except I really am, at least on Sunday, because we are persistently unable to get more people into Support.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Whee daily quests!

Cats: Twelve paws that think I should leave the heater on all the time!

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8 December 2011 - Thursday


The inspiration, examples, and artwork of Legends of Anglerre (Sarah Newton, Chris Birch) come from some pretty cheesy-looking British comic from the distant past, but the game itself looks like a pretty good generic fantasy implementation of FATE. Different kinds of magic are just skills and stunts, there are rules for playing PC teams, military units, organizations, warships, and castles as individual characters, and generally it's very FATE-fractalish. It does date from the Spirit of the Century era, so characters get an excessive number of aspects and are constrained by the skill pyramid, but these are minor, easily-corrected flaws.

However, designer guys: black text on dark grey background is HUGE FAIL. (I'm sure it was a colored background in the printed version, but black on dark color is not a lot better.)

Visual Entertainments: THURSDAY NIGHT ANIME is now on THURSDAY!

  • Platonic Chain 16-18: At this rate, PlaChe isn't going to make it to episode 24 without going completely transcendent.
  • Star Driver 24-25: The grand finale, in which reversed reversals are reversed again! Also, the world may not actually be completely destroyed.
  • Baccano! 3: That's quite some newspaper office.
  • Gosick 16-17: The plot of Victorique's doom is gaining momentum (and thickness)!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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7 December 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Oh yah, and Cow Orker M is off Thursday and Friday this week too. It'll be super-exciting.

I can still out-foos Cow Orker A, but he's learning.

Textual Entertainments: Hidden Cities (Daniel Fox) is the sequel to Dragon in Chains and Jade Man's Skin, but I don't think it adds enough new stuff to justify its existence. Enough is settled by the end that it could serve as an end to a trilogy, but there's pleny of room for more books.

Sequential Entertainments: I finally got around to rereading the rest of the series so I could read the final volume of Laon (YoungBin Kim, Hyun You). That was in fact a climax (literary, sheesh), but I'm not sure I'd want to live in the world it reveals.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Stupid brimstone destroyers! A curse upon you and all your wretched kind!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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6 December 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Cow Orker M, the other guy who does tickets, is going to be on vacation from the middle of next week until after Boxing Day, because if he doesn't use all his vacation it evaporates at the end of the year. I hope our customers hibernate all winter!

It looks like I will be on call Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day, but can take most or all of the following week off. Probably all, since it's not like I won't still be on call as backup for Cow Orker M that week.

My the Internet really is full of gaming: It makes perfect sense that it exists, but I did not know until recently that BoardGameGeek has an RPG equivalent: RPGGeek. I should go back and add links to my past entries about games.

Visual Entertainments: In a bewildering reversal of the traditional pattern, we now go over to Monkeycatland on Tuesdays! So tonight we saw episode 8(?) of Lucifer, in which the creepy lawyer declares his opposition to the maverick cop, and also shows concern for a small child.

Food: I need to get a new Pizza My Heart menu, since apparently they have added new pizzas that are not on my old (paper) menu! Like the Figgy Piggy (bacon, feta, and figs)!

Cats: It is okay, cats! I return to warmify you!

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5 December 2011 - Monday

Work: Today was pretty quiet too. Maybe customers are winding down for the holidays?

Textual Entertainments: The Wolf Age (James Enge) is all Morlock, all the time, so it pleases me. And the conflict from the previous book (This Crooked Way) is still not resolved, so we can hope for another book!

Morlock is really scary.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Someday I'll figure out what these Hyjal Guardian tokens are good for. Perhaps the same far-future day when Zmorcia reaches Exalted with them and can buy the good stuff from the quartermaster (by which time she will no longer need it).

Cats: Marmalade and Ghirardelli are so friendly at night! I don't know about Aspen; she might sleep by my feet, where the heater is. Or maybe she just hides somewhere else and mutters darkly about the warmth-stealing monster.

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4 December 2011 - Sunday

Work: My psychic powers continue to be vast!

Gaming: Jeremy and Rachel had to cancel D&D to do something with their spawn, but it's not like the rest of us had anything better to do, so Dave and Adam and I lured Carl to play Fiasco with us. We didn't know that was what we were luring him for, but at brunch Adam mentioned that he was thinking of trying Fiasco for his lunchtime gaming with his cow orkers and our fate was sealed.

Our game involved a dying motel in the boonies of Kansas, identical twin sisters, skinheads running a meth lab, hot gay interracial adultery, first degree arson, and other fun stuff. We kind of flailed at some points (okay, most points), and I think we were done about halfway through the second act, but it was like a story. In the final round, I managed to get other people to establish, so I was able to grab a white die for the 3/1 split instead of letting them stick me with a black die for 2/2. As a fairly direct result, Sam the black handyman got a 10 on his outcome while everyone else got 1 or 2, so I am teh w1nz0r. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Improv is hard!

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Darkmoon Faire seems like it could be interesting, but there are so many people I can't see what Zmorcia is doing at any of the booths! Clearly I need to get up early and play in the morning when even Stormwind is empty.

Cats: I oppressed Aspen so much with pettins and snuggles!

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3 December 2011 - Saturday

Work: I used my vast psychic powers to prevent customers from calling me.

Sequential Entertainments: After having it on my list for ages, I finally obtained and read the four existing volumes of Omamori Himari. As expected, it is pure fan service with no redeeming social value.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia did some more quests in Uldum. She's getting gear that's better than at least some of what she has, although probably not good enough to make up for a complete lack of sk1llz on my part.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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2 December 2011 - Friday

Work: Not too onerous, but I am on call this weekend so the customers will have plenty of chances to correct their terrible oversight.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Ah, the new vendor has the recipes for crafting the gems from the new raids and instances and whatnot. Well, that's useless.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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1 December 2011 - Thursday

Work: Teaching people things is hard.

Visual Entertainments: FAIL! The Monkeycats are too flat from vacation.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Ah hah, rescuing the little rock guy and getting paid to blow up gemstones are mutually exculsive dailies.

Looks like Transmogrification (swapping complete stat blocks between items to get the ultimate combination of fashion and plusses) has been implemented. I'm sure I would care more if I weren't me.

Cats: I have been so very kittybreaded!

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