Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 April 2012 - Monday

Dead Harvest (Chris F Holm) is definitely more on the noir side of urban fantasy than the action-adventure side. The protagonist is a damned soul who possesses bodies to go around collecting the souls of other sinners to be delivered to eternal torment. That may not be maximally antiheroic, but it's pretty far down there. He does try to not suck completely, though.

I'll probably get the next one from the library too.

Today I did not stay up too late playing Dominion or Dungeon Raid!

I stayed up too late playing Magical Diary. I blame Marith.

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29 April 2012 - Sunday

K-Machines (Damien Broderick) is the sequel to Godplayers and wraps up most of the open threads, but not in a way that I found very satisfying.

Because we could, Marith and I went to see the The Hunger Games movie, which turned out to be pretty good. As far as I can remember, it is faithful to the book, although of course very compressed (the mentor had only about five minutes to go from useless drunk to competent ally).

I don't remember it from the book, but the dish full of berries at the end was a nice touch.

Will younger audiences understand what a pile of propaganda the explanation for the games was? Probably not, alas.

Hurray! I accomplished nothing useful today!

Except for petting some cats, which I am told makes up for a lot of my deficiencies.

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28 April 2012 - Saturday

Bunny Drop vol 5 (Yumi Unita) suddenly skips ten years, to when Rin is in high school. It's still Bunny Drop, though.

Volume 4 of Toradora (Yuyuko Takemiya, Zekkyo) is apparently the swimsuits and breasts issue. I don't know why I didn't think it was going to go this route.

This would be an Academy of Science weekend, except we still have no Dave, so instead we played Talisman and listened to Ja Baby not nap. Ayse was doing great because she rolled well, until Ken used a spell to send her to the place where she had to use her terrible stat instead of her awesome stat and she had to spend the rest of the game trying to get back up to the inner regions before Ken crushed us all from the center of the universe. I never got much of anywhere, because I rolled crap. That is how Talisman works.

Ja Baby can use Marith's phone to play video games.

I really didn't need a large order of garlic fries at Clarke's, but Marith took the rest for breakfast tomorrow, so it worked out.

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27 April 2012 - Friday

Volume 1 of the Durarara!! manga (Ryohgo Narita, Suzuhito Yasuda, and Akiyo Satorigi) follows the anime reasonably closely. The details of Orihara's scene with his suicide groupies are different, but the essential rat-bastardy is the same.

First Contacts is a collection of Murray Leinster's short stories from the 30s to the 50s, including the famous "A Logic Named Joe". It's sort of like Shakespeare: all Leinster did was string together a bunch of well-known SF tropes.

Social attitudes in the first half of the 20th century were not so progressive by modern standards. I can only hope that the future will look back on the first half of the 21st century with equal horror.

Who needs sleep when there's Dungeon Raid? Oh yah, I do.

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26 April 2012 - Thursday

I finally finished going back through volume two of the Finder Library (#23-38 or so) with the end notes. I had read at least part of "Dream Sequence" and "The Rescuers" before, but not any of "Mystery Date" or "Five Crazy Women". Jaeger + speed dating = GAAAH.

No anime because no Dave. Sad.

Marith wiggled string for Marmalade! She is a Hero of the Orange Cat Revolution!

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25 April 2012 - Wednesday

Harbor (John Ajvide Lindqvist) is in the horror genre by its plot, but it doesn't really give a feeling of horror. One of the viewpoint characters is clearly a broken man, but the doom doesn't impend well.

It would make a fine Call of Cthulhu adventure, though.

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24 April 2012 - Tuesday

Oh, look, a new and exciting problem.

Somewhere Beneath Those Waves is an unthemed collection of Sarah Monette's short stories (unlike The Bone Key and any other collections she may have that I am inexplicably unaware of). A few of them I have read before, but all of them were pretty good. I particularly liked "The World Without Sleep", but I don't think it was the technically best or anything.

We had no Daves and no Mariths, so there was no Lucifer, but Ken's LARP buddy Jacob came buy and we taught him to play Dominion. He seems okay, so I guess we'll let him be Ken's friend.

Julia thought it was the best thing ever that my cats have their own "slide" (inclined scratcher) so I tried to get a few pictures of them playing with it. I might need to try again when the light is better, though.

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23 April 2012 - Monday

Nobody likes Monday, not even when customers didn't freak out until the weekend was over.

Mondays when half the team is out are even more Montastic.

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22 April 2012 - Sunday

Villainous dialogue is hard. Actually, talking to people in general is hard. Maybe I shouldn't try to put role-playing into my gaming.

Anyway, after some pointless combat and then some plot-related combat, the PCs managed to melt the ancient storage vault, banishing the frost giant back to the other artifacts, and beat up Dave's character so they were able to hold onto him. Next session, they can try to deprogram him, and also remove the silver spikes that give him extra superpowers.

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Still no customers! I am teh w1nz0r!

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21 April 2012 - Saturday

This morning, Ja Baby came over to meet my cats! She has heard stories of them and seen pictures of them, but was still a little nervous about them. They were dubious about her too (except Aspen, who was certain), but she got Marmalade to chase the toy she threw for him and that made everyone happy.

Then I loaded up a couple of bags of books and went with Ja Baby and Ayse to BookBuyers, which unprecedentedly had almost no one in line to sell books at 10:00 on Saturday morning, and Dana Street, which had many people but also iced chai and jalapeno bagels and a random encounter with one of my cow orkers. A good time was had by all, probably especially by Ken who was at home asleep.

I stayed downtown to pick up the remaining books and take them to the library, but Book Buyers only returned empty paper bags. FLAWLESS VICTORY!

Handling the Undead (John Ajvide Lindqvist) was probably not the best book to read during lunch, but the walking dead are okay as long as they aren't getting too close to my Thai iced tea.

HtU is a zombie book, but not a zombie apocalypse book and not even an action book. The zombies are pretty pitiful, actually, even though they are creepy and a lot of creepy stuff goes on around them.

I don't even know what to prepare for tomorrow, never mind actually doing it.

I am on call this weekend, but the customers have not attacked yet.

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20 April 2012 - Friday

The Kingdoms of Dust (Amanda Downum) is third in the "Necromancer Chronicles" about a spy and necromancer whose life pretty much goes from bad to worse, although she does some good along the way.

When I first finished this volume, I felt that the resolution of the climax hadn't been sufficiently set up, but I think it actually was. I just didn't catch on.

Final dose of medicinal chews for Ghirardelli! He seems pretty healthy, although he will often miau and miau at me for unclear reasons. Maybe he wants me to turn down the sun, since he is weak against thermions.

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19 April 2012 - Thursday

No anime because Dave is pillaging the Western Med.

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18 April 2012 - Wednesday

Boss G is out for the rest of the week! Party in the Support Fort!

Okay, not really, but we found another of the engineers who plays foosball.

I know what happens next in D&D, but I'm not prepared for the PCs rolling a 1. Or a 20, really.

When people don't transfer their clothes expediently, doing laundry bears a strong resemblence to playing Dungeon Raid. I didn't quite break 20k, but I was close. I probably could have done it if I had added up the monster attack values and realized I was going to bottom out on health before it actually happened. Teleport is a great cooldown, but only if you use it.

People were so sluggish about tranferring their clothes that by the time I brought the warm laundry in, Marmalade had only a few minutes to lounge on it! The fiends!

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17 April 2012 - Tuesday

Doubletake is the seventh or so in Rob Thurman's "Cal Leandros" series. It is just as action-tastic as the preceding ones, but I could have done without 90% of Cal's internal monologue about how he's a monster but that's okay because it means he can protect his brother.

We failed to watch Lucifer because Dave is gone and Marith wanted to sleep. Sleep is okay by me, even though I'm not very good at it.

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16 April 2012 - Monday

Are we sure Blood Alone (Masayuki Takano) isn't in the harem genre?

Buying new clothes is like doing laundry, right?

15000 in Dungeon Raid!

Playing Dungeon Raid is like prepping D&D for this weekend, right?

Well, no, not really, but I know at least some of what I have to do (like nerf the lurker form of the boss, because lurkers should only do piles of damage every other round). Surely just implementing it won't take that long.

I built the cats a cave out of the boxes I haven't thrown away yet, but I'm not sure they appreciate it.

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15 April 2012 - Sunday

Ghirardelli, how can I get up and prepare for D&D if you are sitting on me? Well, no, D&D isn't exactly like gooshyfood. Oh. I guess I might as well stop wiggling and go back to sleep, then.

I did finish up monster #4 of 6, which is hopefully all we'll need today, and was only a little late to brunch. Well, maybe moderately late.

In fact, the PCs got up to monster #4 (really the fourth incarnation of the solo boss) before running away, so my preparation was exactly right! Dave won't be here next session, so I had his character captured while covering the others' escape and now they will have to go back and face incarnations 4-6 to rescue him from being made ruler of the world.

I don't think the PCs understand what was up with the boss coming back different each time they killed her, but they'll learn. Oh, they'll learn. Muahahahahahahahaha!

I should have done all kinds of useful things this evening, but I barely managed to go grocery shopping. Having Ja Baby and D&D on the same weekend takes a lot of energy.

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14 April 2012 - Saturday

Being piled on by cats doesn't make it any easier to get up.

Today it's all Ja Baby all the time! At least for Marith, who clearly has Most-Favored Auntie status.

In our two hours of Academy of Science for this fortnight, the PCs discovered that the Academy had been burned to the ground and everyone they knew had been massacred. Bummer.

Things not to say to get sympathy from other Dominion players: "All these colonies are really diluting my deck". Although when it was all over, he only had 70 points, which is not a runaway victory in absolute terms for Prosperity.

Rumor has it that Rangoon is going out of business, so we got take-out to have coconut rice, kima pork, and black bean fish while we still can. Also samosas, which are widely available but often not as tasty as the ones from Rangoon. We should probably have gotten more than four orders.

Ayse and Ken gave me ideas for the six monsters which were very helpful but did not actually reduce the amount of preparation I have to do before brunch tomorrow.

Dungeon Raid, why do you haunt me so?

dungeon raid by marith (Mon Apr 16 20:28:55 2012)

evil evil evil evil parasite.

I have unlocked assassin, barbarian and raider.

Re: dungeon raid by Trip (Mon Apr 16 21:20:50 2012)

Between us, Ayse and I have unlocked all the classes on my iPad. I like priest for the double regen, but Dave likes ranger for the arrows.

Tonight, instead of going to bed early, I got 15000 points!

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13 April 2012 - Friday

I'm not on call this weekend, but the new(ish) guy is, and Boss G who usually gets called for help is not available, so I might be on call anyway.

After reading Twenty Palaces (Harry Connolly) last week, I realized that I didn't remember all of Circle of Enemies, so I reread it. It is still awesome, and ends just as things are starting to get really messed up good. What is wrong with people that they did not give Connolly's publisher money for these books?!

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12 April 2012 - Thursday

  • Katanagatari 8: Unknown origins, huh?
  • Kimi ni Todoke II 1-2: Aw, they were doing so well at the end of first season!
  • Penguindrum 9: It's Ikuhara all the way down.
  • Red Garden 16: Is battlefield exposition more or less credible?

Cat Report: Cats are furry!

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11 April 2012 - Wednesday

I actually finished reading volume one of The Finder Library (collecting issues 1-22 of Carla Speed McNeil's Finder) several days ago, but then I had to go back through it with the end notes, so I couldn't mark it off until today.

I first read Finder many years ago, but it is still pretty awesome. Most of the characters are pretty screwed up, but they are more or less human, so you have to expect that sort of thing, and they have an interestingly-screwed up world to live in. I think I followed things better this time, but there will still some things I didn't understand until I read the end notes. (I'm sure Dave figured them out immediately.)

Onward to volume 2 (issues 23-38)!

Let The Right One In (John Ajvide Lindqvist) was famous a few years ago when it was made into a movie that won all kinds of awards, but I failed to see it. The library had the text version when I was browsing the other day, though, so I picked it up. It's pretty good, but a lot is internal, so I'm not sure how it would translate to a movie. I guess that's a well-understood problem, though.

The part I found the most upsetting was not the bloody murder or the auto-vitriolage or the merciless bullying, but the crazy cat guy who loved his cats but did not take good care of them. Hopefully someone will feed me to a vampire and rescue my cats before I end up like that.

I meant to go to bed, but Marith and Chris made me stay up too late talking about anime. We should see Mouretsu Pirates (aka Bodacious Space Pirates), and I will probably be unable to resist seeing Haiyore! Nyaruko-san even though I may regret it.

I seem to have put myself in the position of writing up six monsters for upcoming D&D encounters, at least some of which need to be ready by Sunday. One almost down!

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10 April 2012 - Tuesday

WHY is there so much RAINING?

We're now ¾ of the way through Lucifer, and the heroic loose-cannon cop has just figured out the criminal mastermind's Dark Secret. The Death Spiral started in episode 1, but it's definitely circling the edge of the abyss now.

Oh, the rain is to make cats snuggly!

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9 April 2012 - Monday

Someday I really will go to bed early on Sunday night. Really.

The Isis Collar (Cat Adams) is the fourth in the series that started with Blood Song, Siren Song, and Demon Song; I guess Zombie Song didn't impress Marketing. The earth-shakingness of the plot is scaled down a little from the previous book, but the love triangle isn't.

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Someday I really will go to bed early on Monday night. Really.

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8 April 2012 - Sunday

Volume 3 of Kaoru Mori's A Bride's Story is finally out. This time the story wanders off to follow the random English anthropologist, although the titular bride and her husband do show up to admire the trouble he gets himself into.

Actually, I think she draws all those clothes by hand, so it should probably be "volume 3 is already out".

In the afternoon, we went to play with Ja Baby and eat enormous Easter feast. I still think it's weird to eat ham to commemorate a Jewish guy, regardless of whether he's fictional, but it's certainly tasty. Perhaps too tasty.

Then Marith had to flee because the germs have stolen her staminas.

Ayse and Ken tried to lure me back to WoW to play a goblin named An Almost Fanatical Devotion To The Pope, but the next element in the list would actually be Ruthless Efficiency, and all the goblin images are butt-ugly.

Look, my apartment is full of fuzzy cats! Do you think they will remind me to go to sleep?

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7 April 2012 - Saturday

Instead of spending all day sitting around the apartment wishing I were preparing for D&D, I went out and got some sunlight and library books and a tasty pile of Bangkok Spoon. While I was lunching, I read Soft Apocalypse (Will McIntosh), also near-future SF full of environmental degradation, but much less cheerful than Arctic Rising. The description of the future US doesn't sound any worse than lots of places are now, but that's not really something anyone would look forward to.

For someone who is watching his country crumble into a third-world hellhole (with bonus instant bamboo), the main character spends a lot of time angsting about romance. But one piece of advice another character gave him struck me: "You know how men feel about breasts? Women feel like that about confidence." (I guess this make alcohol the push-up attitude...)

In the afternoon, we colored eggs and ate Hanamaru sushi with Ja Baby. Then we went home again.

Ghirardelli is full of chasing again, and also empty of horrible squirty medicine! I wonder if his little kitty brain can be happy about things that don't happen?

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6 April 2012 - Friday

There is not enough goop left in the bottom of the bottle to be successfully extracted and inflicted upon Ghirardelli. You're free, Chococat! Free!

There is no live-action Sailor Moon, there is only ZZZuul. And plague.

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5 April 2012 - Thursday

Saints Astray (Jacqueline Carey) is the sequel to Santa Olivia. Despite having been raised in an isolated military encampment, Loup and Pilar seem to be more ready for the outside world than it is for them.

I'm not sure if this is supposed to be future, or alternate present, or what.

Arctic Rising (Tobias S Buckell) is definitely set in the near future, when the loss of ice from the Arctic Ocean has made the resources there exploitable. It comes out pretty strongly in favor of democracy (or at least some form of public involvement) over unilateral action by crazed masterminds, which seems okay by me.

The ending is a huge cliffhanger, unless we're supposed to have figured out what's in the briefcase.

Anime was moved to Tuesday so that we'd have tonight free to entrain Phillipp (dad of Ja Baby's friend Johanna) while his wife and child are away. We did this by playing Settlers until too late. Even then, we only got to about the point in the game where someone races ahead and tries to win: 6 to 6 to 6 to 5. I definitively lost, but the person who had Longest Road probably wasn't much better off in the long term.

The schedule calls for Ghirardelli's last dose of antibiotic to be tomorrow morning, but tonight's dose was scraping the bottom, so it might have been the last one.

What's in the briefcase by Carl (Tue Apr 10 00:01:25 2012)

Marcellus Wallace's soul, canonically.

Re: What's in the briefcase by Trip (Tue Apr 10 08:48:03 2012)

Is that canon? I thought it was only fanon.

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4 April 2012 - Wednesday

Count to a Trillion (John C Wright) is not as skeevy as the "* of Chaos" books, although possibly because there is only one major female character. It is also over the top in a lot of ways, but there are some good ideas.

Ted Chiang writes better superintelligences, but that's a high bar for merely human writers.

Twenty Palaces (Harry Connolly) is the prequel to Child of Fire/Game of Cages/Circle of Enemies, and just as awesome. Now we know how Ray came to be driving a crappy van in the middle of nowhere with a sorceress who hated his guts at the beginning of Child of Fire, and it's about as dire as you would expect.

The reading public, or maybe just the publishing corporate, completely failed to grasp the awesomeness of these books (for which my zombie army will punish them in due course) so Connolly published Twenty Palaces through his website, but aside from some proofreading issues, it did not seem to suffer from lack of editing.

I meant to go to bed tonight, but instead I stayed up playing Dominion, because I am not very smart.

I can usually (okay, sometimes) beat the AIs on the premade sets that I play (ie, not the ones with Thief), but it's a lot more random with a random set of cards. Possibly this is because the AIs don't go, "Oh, Throne Rooms! I must have them!"

Hang in there, Chococat! Only a couple more days!

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3 April 2012 - Tuesday

Surprise Thursday Night Anime on Tuesday! Fortunately I have soda already staged at Dave's, but I did not have my library books to take back on the way home. Oh well.

  • Katanagatari 7: I really thought that wasn't going to happen until the end of the series, but I was wrong about other stuff too.
  • Penguindrum 8: "M" stands for Madness, apparently. But where's the transformation sequence?
  • Madoka Magica 11-12: That was about as hopeful an ending as could be expected, and Madoka did what I was hoping someone would think to do.
  • Red Garden 15: Blackmail secrets never last.

Next week, Kimi no Todoke second season.

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2 April 2012 - Monday

The replacement for the non-working cellular modem that work had issued me arrived today... FROM THE FUTURE! It's a small black plastic square, aerodynamically tapered at the corners, with no controls except one button. Ten years ago it would have been confusing, twenty years ago they would probably have had to take it to a serious lab to figure out what it does.

It is not, however, a flying car.

Oppression levels remain constant.

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1 April 2012 - Sunday

I spent all yesterday adiring Ja Baby instead of preparing D&D, so I only had one kind of lame encounter, but there was some gruesome description and a lot of chatting, and a cliffhanger. I even figured out how to get Earl's character back with the rest if he's able to make it to the next session.

Although Jeremy and Rachel threatened to get me a horribly embarrassing present for my birthday, what they actually got me was Rory's Story Cubes. I must use them only for evil!

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