Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 October 2012 - Wednesday


I tried to go to Monkeycatland to play Halloween games with Ayse and Ken and Dave, but was not very successful because the bag full of games stayed at the train station while I tried to fight through 589346923452135 crazed sports fans to get to San Jose. I did eventually get to San Jose, and then even to Monkeycatland (after embarrassingly going the wrong way on the light rail), and we ate tasty stir-fry and played Dominion before I had to scuttle home, but it was not the same. I hope we never want to play any of those games again.

I had forgotten most of the second Tiffany Aching book, A Hat Full of Sky, until I reread it, so it's a good thing I did!

So many paws!

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30 October 2012 - Tuesday

Work wants me to go to China in January to teach people stuff. I guess I better figure out how to get a passport. It probably involves a deep pit full of paperwork.

Simon West-Bulford apparently got his start writing for video games, and that's about the level of SF that The Soul Consortium is.

Permeable Borders is a collection of Nina Kiriki Hoffman's short stories, which are mostly modern fantasy of the type she is known for. Some of them were interesting, but none of them amazed me.

Secondary worlds with magic are usually either fairly simple societies with magic integrated to various degrees (examples far too numerous to mention), or reflections of the present day with all mod-cons replaced by very close magical equivalents (Operation Chaos, The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump). Only rarely do we see a fantasy setting with a society that is as complex and advanced as ours but not ours.

Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead is a fine example of the subgenre, and a murder mystery on a large scale (with bonus zombies).

I tried to read the fourth "Tiffany Aching" book, but after I started I decide that I didn't remember enough about the third one and would have to reread it. This turned out to be a recursive process, but eventually I got to the first one, The Wee Free Men, and decided I did not need to reread all the previous Witches books (which I probably don't even own).

Go Frying-Pan Lass!

Twelve fuzzy paws!

Passports by Carl (Wed Nov 7 23:35:26 2012)

If you want a US Passport by January you need to start on that NOW, and probably pay for expedited service (well worth it). See You may also need a visa for China, but you'll likely need your passport first. Many places can take passport photos; like US Post Offices, or Mailbox Etc.

If you're still a Canadian, then I have no idea. I think all countries just let Canadians wander freely about because they're so friendly and such. I may be wrong.

Re: Passports by Trip (Thu Nov 8 14:28:49 2012)

Apparently I am probably entitled to a US passport (complete with conductive case to slow down people trying to clone the RFID), but have to produce a bunch of documentation to prove it. Blah.

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29 October 2012 - Monday

Oh look, it's another Monday. At least Boss G is back from the conference, although Cow Orker M is still out on medical leave.

This Monday contains cats!

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28 October 2012 - Sunday

Work tried to draft me, but I was not near a computer with VPN, so neener!

Make-up Diaspora Effect after last week's microbe-induced failure!

This session was almost entirely one big action scene, or maybe two parallel action scenes with intercutting.

In one track, Aylira (who had been stashed on the ship while Adam was out last session), first tried to get the ship to take off by phoning in fake bomb threats, and then tried to get it to crash into the Infernal Device by grabbing the pilot and flying out through the bridge windows.

The rest of the PCs, after defeating Doctor Prime and its Net Nurses, snuck through the salt-crystal forest to the control room and burst in through the old drill shaft just as Mays was firing up/becoming the suntap.

(Jeremy had to shuttle kids, so Norbert snuck away in the display of unnatural biotics and locked himself in Mays's office full of interesting notes and relics. This put a pass value of 4 and the aspect "Damn you, Norbert" on the door, which foiled at least two people.)

There was a big fight in the control room, which Harnu Ers contributed to by tearing apart control consoles with his bare waldos and gooping the cyborg bug in the face, but was mostly won by Litra hacking things and Siless shooting the bug's head off (which slowed it down a fair bit). Up in the Plasma Storm of Death, Aylira got her suit shot full of holes but was able to keep from dying by use of biotics and did eventually manage to talk the secondary pilot into flying into the ground, although not into the suntap machinery. She took cover from the hostile environment by joining the fight inside, which helped a lot.

Eventually Mays tried to shut down the suntap operations so she could concentrate on crushing the PCs even though it meant delaying the Great Work by half a local year, but they trashed the place so thoroughly that there was no hope and she had a nervous breakdown. (That seems to happen a lot around this team.)

The Dark Mistress was trashed, but with the suntap not running, the Anti-Cyclonic Storm of Inevitable Rectification was able to pick up the survivors and geth black boxes and flee back to Citadel where they could be debriefed by Top Sophonts.

Norbert finally got his hands on the rotating datastore, but the rest of the team insisted on strict precautions to keep him from becoming a slave of the Old Machines. It was tricky, but they did manage to see most of the story of how the densorans (who I pictured as the flat-neck hammer-head guy from Star Wars but were actually land-going Opabina-type critters) met their doom. As r-strategists, they had no problem handing over a bunch of offspring to the walking skyscrapers from outer space in exchange for knowledge, but when their bright and terrible cyborg children returned from the stars and overthrew them, it seemed like less of a good bargain.

Next session, onward to the planet where all this went down, and where Mays got her creepy alien kit for the suntap.

I got my panda up to level 9 before the cats demanded my servitude.

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27 October 2012 - Saturday

Today I did a bunch of nothing in particular, but I did it in San Jose. We tried to play Small World Realms but foundered on a lack of a lack of other things that needed doing and played Dominion instead. Ken carved pumpkins to Ja Baby's order. Ayse roasted pumpkin seeds and gestated. We ordered pizza that was fancy enough to suit Marith.

Dave's Mac-to-TV converter failed us, but Marith did have one of his thumb drives to give back to him if she ever remembered, and the Blu-Ray player has a USB port.

  • Nodame Cantabile OAV: Foundered on the lack of OGG audio support in the Blu-Ray player. We had subtitles, but watching this series without audio seems kind of pointless.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 8-9: This remains very silly, now with additional space princesses and the underworld skill spoken of in hushed whispers as "faking attendance".
  • UN-GO 3: A mystery that takes more than one episode to resolve! I wonder if Inga's trick will work on this character?
  • Welcome to the NHK 17-18: I'd say she's good, but it's not like they're able to put up much resistance.

My cats show no signs of dying! Good work, cats! Keep it up!

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26 October 2012 - Friday

I have such a poor work ethic that I left an hour early! I am such a wild man that I used the extra time to do laundry.

At least I am not officially on-call this weekend.

Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul explicitly sets out to recreate the continuity-free glory of old-fashioned superhero comics. There is more than a bit of "if you've been playing other superhero games you've only been counting points", but in fact the powers system, while pretty free-form, is at least as structured as the new Marvel and more so than ICONS.

I have no moral high ground here, but it does bother me that two of the female example characters have "Cleavage Stun" as a power while none of the male characters have anything similar.

Mermaid Adventures is a very small and simple game for young players who want to be mermaids. It is not actually the Disney Little Mermaid, but it could be.

Volume 5 of Mardock Scramble (Tow Ubukata, Yoshitoki Oima) is the Explain Gambling volume. The $10M-poker-chips plot still makes no sense.

Did you know my apartment is full of cats?

Mermaids by Carl (Wed Nov 7 23:41:46 2012)

Perhaps Mermaid Adventures could be combined with Magical Land of Yeld: Mermaid Hunters in which a brain, a tomboy, and a dog go through a mysterious door to bop mermaids on the head and put them in a net.

Re: Mermaids by Trip (Tue Nov 13 03:18:40 2012)

A game that is only available on paper?! What do they think this is, the 20th century?

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25 October 2012 - Thursday

Cow Orker M is out of the hospital, but still on various drugs and not really up to braining. Fortunately the customers were not too unruly today.

Into the Cosmos is a book of more pregen PCs, more NPCs, more spaceships, and a lot more adventure seeds for Cosmic Patrol. I still want to be enthused about this game, but it's still too goofy and incoherent. Maybe I wasn't exposed to serials at a young enough age or something.

The cats would hear nothing of my putting my paws on the little squares and staring at the glowy rectangle, so I sat on the couch and watched the glowy cube (which they can at least sit on) while it showed me the first couple of episodes of Kaze no Stigma. It doesn't create its own genre, but so far it's not bad. The male lead is both reasonably embittered by his tragic past and moving beyond it to become cool in his own right.

Also I ate enough goat cheese to ...cheese a goat? A lot, anyway. It was yummy.

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24 October 2012 - Wednesday

Having two people teach the same thing really doesn't work very well, but may be unavoidable.

Twelve very fuzzy paws!

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23 October 2012 - Tuesday


Braining is hard. Let's photosynthesize.

The setting book and rulebook beta downloads for Tenra Bansho Zero were mislabeled, so I ended up reading the rules first, but that's okay. There were setting elements mentioned that I wanted to know more about, but there was enough context that I didn't have to stop. It's hyper-Asian action with samurai transformations, beautiful androids, creepy Shinto Illuminati, and underaged mecha pilots; no need to get bogged down in the details!

The system for determining whether you succeed at doing something is pretty generic: roll d6s equal to your stat, ones that don't exceed your skill count as successes. There are some interesting bits in the combat system, though (some of which I like because I thought of them independently but never did anything with because/therefore I suck).

The defender and attacker both roll, but in melee combat, whoever rolls higher is considered to have attacked successfully and does damage. This is how multiattacks work: leap into the middle of a horde of mooks and let them all take swings at you, then dismantle them with the counterattacks. (This doesn't usually work with ranged or special attacks, but you can get feats that let you do it.)

There are no wound penalties. In fact, the more wounded you are, the more plusses you get! Since you can distribute the damage you take between wounds and stun as you please, you can pick how much of a bonus you want, but wounds don't clear right after combat, and if you run into something that makes you take damage only as wounds, you could be in a world of hurt.

The important part of the system, though, is aiki/kiai/karma/fate. (This is Buddhist karma, which comes in only flavor and leads inevitably to suffering.) It works like this: Each character has some number of Fates, attachments to worldly things (ie, psychlims). If you play up your character's Fates in an entertaining way, the other players will give you aiki tokens. Periodically, you can convert these tokens into larger numbers of kiai, which can be spent to improve your character a little permanently or a lot temporarily, letting you do awesome things so you get more aiki tokens. However, each point of kiai you spend turns into a point of karma at the end of the act, and if you start the next act with more than 108 karma, you become an obsessive, insane NPC. Between acts, you can reduce your karmic burden by resolving and erasing, or rewriting and reducing, your Fates based on what's happened, and you can play to those Fates in the next act to get more aiki tokens and keep the cycle flowing.

Although normally I am highly sceptical of systems that let you throw away experience points for short term gains so that you have to throw away even more XP next session, I am okay with it in Tenra Bansho Zero because there is no long term: an entire "campaign" is supposed to play out in one 4-6hr session, after which the character's stories are resolved. No one's stopping you from playing another campaign with the same characters (in which case you might need to be careful with your spending), but that doesn't seem to be what the system primarily supports.

Next, the setting book! (Did we mention the guys that host bugs and worms in their living flesh?)

Bleach vol 48 (Tite Kubo) actually resolves the Aizen arc! Elements might pop up again later, but for the time being it seems to be definitively over.

What would not be anticlimactic after that?

Angel Para Bellum (Nozomu Tamaki, Kent Minami) seems pretty similar to Dance in the Vampire Bund but with (hermaphroditic?) angels and (surprisingly honorable, or maybe just goal-directed) demons instead of vampires and other vampires. Also, less loli, but possibly more shota.


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22 October 2012 - Monday

Hey! It's raining! Who ordered that?

It cleared up as soon as I was done walking to work, naturally.

Boss G is at the big conference. Cow Orker M meant to be at the big conference but is instead still hospitalized (though he is able to send email and complain about medical procedures). MOAR COW ORKERS PLZ.

The insoluble thing from Friday turned out to be an IP address conflict on the customer's end. Bah.

I beat Cow Orker A in four straight games of foosball, but probably only because he's still recovering from being sick.

I only like Go Get a Roomie! because I am a horrible person, but I think people who are not horrible could like it too, as long as they aren't reading it at work. The main character reminds me a little of Lotus Cloud from The Bridge of Birds.

It is the time of year during which cats become snuggly at night!

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21 October 2012 - Sunday

No Diaspora Effect today because Earl is sick. We vaguely tried to get together for other gaming but that fell through because kids.

Saga (Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples) is apparently the hot new thing in the comic world, but it's actually not bad. The first volume has a horrible creepy spider-woman that is what drow should look like. However, I am deeply dubious about their excuse for Total Galactic Warfare.

The Chronicles of Loth (J.E. Flint, EFlint) is pretty generic amateur EFP webcomic. Meh.

We successfully watched the other half of last week's anime. I have no idea what to do with the schedule.

  • Nodame Cantabile 22-23: Aww! If Chiaki isn't careful, he might start actually being fond of her!
  • Welcome to the NHK 16: Hah! I guessed right about the catgirl!

Twelve paws!

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20 October 2012 - Saturday

Cow Orker A called me for advice, because he's on call, but fortunately I did not have to do anything substantial.

Holy crap! Cow orker M is in the hospital with heart problems! That's not okay!

(It's not unexpected given his physical condition, but it's still not okay!)

Monsterhearts is based on the Apocalypse World mechanics, but uses them for teenage monster drama (in the vein of Buffy but more sordid and angst-soaked). The stats are slightly different, and instead of history with someone you have strings on them, and naturally the default moves and character playbooks are different, but overall it's very similar to AW. I did not find it as interesting, though, possibly because it's not new to me, possibly because the creator is not as awesome as Baker, possibly because I don't care for the genre as much. Or, possibly, just because I haven't experienced it.

Today is Ayse and Ken and Ja Baby and Dave's House Shower/Baby Warming party! (Only Ayse is currently involved in the baby portion.) With 245623901490 cheese! And tamales! And people, one of whom I had even not met before! And board games!

For a party, it was pretty good, but my proper place is still at the bottom of a pit full of bugs and worms, out of everyone's way.

Cats are nice.

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19 October 2012 - Friday

Spent pretty much all day working with the customer on the thing. We made more progress than had been made before, but only discovered new problems.

I'm not on call this weekend!

In a Fix (Linda Grimes) is silly paranormal romance about a woman with unexplained shapeshifting powers who makes her living as a body double for people who are too busy to do things like be proposed to by their boyfriends, her improbably hot shape-shifting distant relatives, Viking-wannabe MRAs with a horrible plan, and silliness. The main character is pretty much the spunky girl-next-door stereotype from all old movies ever, constantly causing trouble because when the people who what the hell they're doing tell her to stay where it's safe and let them do their job, she won't stand for being bossed around by men. This is slightly less stupid because she does actually have a superpower, but still kind of annoying.

Paws: still twelve!

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18 October 2012 - Thursday

Because someone had a circumstance, I got abruptly rescheduled from Nov 18th to today for the CPR/AED training. This made my cow orkers sad when multiple P1s arrived during the hour between a morning meeting and the start of training, but I am now a card-carrying CPRitator and First-Aider! Your hit points are safe with me!

Clean (Alex Hughes) may be theoretically SF, since it is in the future and has flying cars to go with its psionics, but it feels very much like urban fantasy of the detective subvariety, and, well, psionics. Despite the flying cars, there are no robot butlers because in the past, society became more automated than the available computer security supported, and only the Psionic Conspiracy saved them.

The main character has substantial disads and totally earns the points for them, which is always good.

Twelve paws!

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17 October 2012 - Wednesday

Everybody likes work, work goes splat.

The Shadowed Sun (N K Jemisin) is the sequel to The Killing Moon, set some years later, with different characters being protagonists and trying to fix the doomed situation from the end of the previous book. For some reason I didn't notice it before, but the major society is a very good example of oppressing people by putting them on pedestals.

Why have I not read the third book in Jemisin's first series?

Twelve fuzzy paws!

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16 October 2012 - Tuesday

No training today, but we did eventually get the customer fixed.

Jiu Jiu (Touya Tobina) vol 1 is hardcore shoujo monster-hunting emotion. Fights are implied by half a panel here or there; the manga is actually about the main character's troubled relationship with her pet werewolves, who are way more forgiving than she deserves, and also frequently naked.

Another level of pandaness, but then I had to log off to feed and oppress the cats.

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15 October 2012 - Monday

Yay, I didn't have to do all the training of New Cow Orker R by myself today!

I made a panda and worked through the starting area to 4th level. It was pretty cute, but WoW is still Wow so it's not like I can really play with others.

Twelve paws!

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14 October 2012 - Sunday

We vaguely intended to finish the week's anime today, but Marith didn't feel like it. I doubt we'll be able to watch anything next Saturday, since it's the babywarminghouseshower party, never mind catch up. Maybe we should switch to just watching one series at a time, since we never know if we'll get a full six-episode timeslot in any given week.

I found the guy on the third level of the Torchlight dungeon who sells the map to a bonus dungeon, which is full of undead and treasure. Whee!

I think I need to change the action bar around, though. Having attacks as low number keys is still ingrained from when I set up my WoW action bars that way.

I finally finished Dragonaut, which took a long time because either it's not great, or because watching anime alone is less fun. Naturally, in the end it turned out to be the power of human love that sent the transcendent mass-mind packing. (I suppose technically that's a spoiler, but it was so very not unexpected that I think it falls under the "the boat sinks" exemption.)

Oh no, I spotted what looks like dried blood under Aspen's fur. I think I cut her by accident when trimming her fur. She doesn't seem to be bothered by it, but I'm sure it didn't help her opinion of bipeds. :(

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13 October 2012 - Saturday

Finally, Earthdawn!

Fortunately, one Dispel Magic broke everyone free of the terror effect, which was good, because it took all of us and some NPCs to absorb the bloatform's attacks. It turned out that Mike's character did pretty much everything in the fight, by tempting the horror with an artifact so that it promised it would kill him last and then regularly rolling way up on both attack and damage. Ayse's and Ken's characters did some damage too, but Dave never managed to roll up enough to do anything. (My character is normally totally useless, because I picked a species other than human and a standard character class, and this session was no different.)

Ken was right that it was a near thing, but it was so difficult to hit the bloatform that we probably would have all died before managing to do the last few points of damage had not reinforcements arrived and prevented it from attacking while we each got one free attack on it.

It turned out that the bloatform was actually a cheap knockoff made from a cultist of the Mad Passion of revenge and ickiness, so it did tie back to the cult we uncovered earlier.

5000 Legend Points is a lot, but not enough to get Isidari to 6th circle.

Ja Baby said it was nice that I was the one to knock on her door and tell her naptime was over. Awwww!

Jinian can tell the difference between painkillers and antibiotics and only spit up the one that doesn't make her feel better.

We tried to have anime, but were partially thwarted by dinner being both out (Korean barbecue!) and after Ja Baby went to bed. There is no work tomorrow, so I would have been up for staying an extra hour, but Marith was blearghy.

  • UN-GO 1-2: Weird! So far it is episodic, but hopefully there will be some overall plot or theme revealed. The "ask one question" schtick is good.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 7: Something is clearly up! Or maybe the main character is just paranoid from sleep deprivation.

Hello splendid boy cats! Hello beautiful but deeply suspicious girl cat!

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12 October 2012 - Friday

Today I had five hours of meetings in a row, and then another hour of meeting after a break. I was not useful for all of it.

Finally it is my turn to be on call again. Cow Orker D is doing the upgrade at Big Customer X on Saturday, though, because he was working on it before it got rescheduled.

Kelly McCullough wrote a series that was sort of like Amber crossed with computers and Greek myth that I liked (possibly more than it deserved), so I was pleased to see that he has written another book.

Broken Blade is more conventional fantasy, vaguely Asian-flavored, about a former ninja of divine justice and his magic shadow, political intrigue, magic, seedy dives, and zombies. It looks to be the first of a series (provided people buy it, naturally).

I think volume 10 is the end of Yubisaki Milk Tea (Tomochika Miyano); at least, it's all that I could find scanlated, and it's a reasonable ending point. It seemed a little abrupt, but that could just be the translation.

Sadly, the ending fails to subvert.

I played a little Torchlight, and it was okay. As expected, it's somewhere between WoW and Nethack, real-time, with approximately a hundred zillion different items with slightly different pluses. I'm terrible at it, but I set it to the easiest difficulty level and hardly died at all. I wish there were a better mapping function (I think W and M in angband have spoiled me), but being able to send your pet back to town to sell stuff for you is pretty handy.

I oppressed Aspen's fur so much! But it is so soft and nice where it is not matted!

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11 October 2012 - Thursday

Welcome to Hell, here's your Webex client.

I successfully purchased Torchlight, but did not finish downloading it before I had to go to bed. While I waiting, I alternated between playing sudoku very badly and getting Marmasnuggled.

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10 October 2012 - Wednesday


Much of the afternoon was taken up with helping a customer make a thing do the thing it was supposed to do, but we were successful in the end.

I meant to accomplish some things tonight, but when I sat down at the computer, Marmalade came to tell me the weather is getting cooler. At great length.

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9 October 2012 - Tuesday

I had to teach New Cow Orker R about things. I hope he was able to extract information from my inane babbling.

No anime on weeknights. Only kitties.

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8 October 2012 - Monday

Mondayingu Mondayingu la la la.

Apocalypse World was Carl's game of choice for a while, but I didn't get around to reading until now, because I'm not cool enough.

After reading it, I'm still not cool enough. It seems like it could be a pretty awesome game, but even if I had people to experiment on, I don't think I could successfully play it, never mind run it.

The main character of Libriomancer (Jim C Hines) has the power to reach into books and pull things out, which is awesome but sounds over the top. However, there are enough limits, both innate and imposed, that it is not a completely silly power. Also, the limitations are an important plot point, partly because the main character is the sort of person who, upon encountering a new magical phemonenon, thinks, "How does that work? If you put it together with that other thing, could you— oh, right figure it out after escaping with my life".

The Wrong Goodbye (Chris F Holm) is the sequel to Dead Harvest, chronicling the further doom of a damned-soul-collector and the demons, angels, colleagues, and worse things that make everything more noir (ie, difficult and tragic). Despite his unsavoury job, aura of doom, and body-hopping, the protagonist gets along prettywell with sufficiently non-square characters.

Laundry! Laundry for orange cats! Laundry for cat-dads! LAUNDRY FOR ALL!

Apocalypse World by Bryant (Wed Oct 17 16:50:42 2012)

Having now played an AW variant as of the other weekend, I think the weight of rules is mostly on the GM. I would like to give running it a try sometime.

Re: Apocalypse World by Trip (Wed Oct 17 19:24:40 2012)

What variant?

I agree that it seems like most of the work is on the GM.

Re: Apocalypse World by Bryant (Thu Oct 18 15:34:22 2012)

Monsterhearts. We had some fighting so it wasn't all teen drama angst.

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7 October 2012 - Sunday

The customers brutally attacked Cow Orker D today, but I was blissfully unaware due to having my phone turned down. I think Boss G got him through it.

Adam is off having Real Fun(tm), but we played Diaspora Effect anyway.

This session, those PCs who were not incapacitated by exposure to unnatural biotics reached the villain base on the blasted planet of a dying star. It turned out the star was dying because someone had dumped a mass relay into it and energy was being sucked out of the core and streamed across the galaxy to who-knows-where (which means it's probably the one that Joke told them about that had the Old Machines on the other end.) The unnatural machinery that the Dark Mistress had been hauling was for a huge bizarre machine dug beneath the forest of salt crystals that had eaten an ancient oravore base and then had a (now ruined) quarian bunker and later a (still-inhabited) geth gazebo built on top of it.

Siless analyzed the bizarre machine and determined it was meant to pull energy out of the stream from the core, and from Dr Mays's personal notes that Litra and Norbert broke into, it seemed that her plan was to reflect the energy back to the relay and lift it out of the star, thus allowing the Old Machines to come through and frolic among the ruins of races that did not cast off their mor(t)ality.

Everyone in the base was human, so Norbert had been elected to drive the daihatsu with the crate containing everyone else to a good hiding spot in the kilometers of lightly-trafficked tunnels, but that exposed him to the security cameras and he was recognized and hauled off to listen to villainous rants.

Everyone else set about sabotaging the project and rescuing all the humans, even the ones with geth for hearts. The ones guarding the vehicle pool didn't want to be rescued, but that didn't stop Litra from assembling an unstoppable army of daihatsus to carry incapacitated humans to the ship after Siless's sabotage would inevitably lead to the destruction of the base.

Some of the humans were being held in jars awaiting the attentions of the geth heart-replacement engineer, Surgeon Prime, and its waldos netnurses, which devolved into a fight in a radiation-sizzling vacuum. Because Harnu Ers believes geth lives are worth as much as any other sophont's, he did save Surgeon Prime's black box, which may make him popular with geth if he can stop Litra from taking a fusion cutter to it.

Norbert tried to escape, but was crushed by Dr Mays and the giant biotic multi-eyed bug thing that executes the will of the Old Machines on this side of the relay and ended up tied to a chair with a good view of the impending doom.

Next session, they have to rescue Norbert along with all the other humans (and geth!) and ensure that the base is destroyed when Dr Mays's suntap-amplifier goes screwy and causes her to explode. No problem.

Harnu Ers may be a terrible character because, even though it's FATE, Assets and Bureaucracy are not as exciting or universally applicable as Slugthrowers and Communications.

Dave has been infected with JaBabySpeak and now says "that one".

Twelve paws!

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6 October 2012 - Saturday

Slightly Used Cow Orker D is on call for the first time (for us) this weekend, but so far the customers are quiet.

Barbara (Osamu Tezuka) is a hallucinatory story of an author and the hobo who becomes his muse — possibly because her mother is Mnemosyne — and the craziness that his life becomes. It is set in the 70s, which even in Japan came right after the 60s.

Lilith Saintcrow claims that The Iron Wyrm Affair is not steampunk, just urban fantasy set in alternate late-C19 London. I see her point, but think the street punks with cyberlimbs may undercut it. However, despite the occasional killer robot or giant mechanical spider, it's definitely a fantasy setting, with bonus deductive geniuses. In fact, it could be described as, "She's a terrifying necromancer with a troubled past. He's a defrocked government Sherlock Holmes. They fight treason."

There was a lack of dinner-party-related doom, so we did not have to punt to Sunday (which is good, because I have to get up on Monday this time).

  • Nodame Cantabile 21: That really looked bad for Mine for a minute.
  • Shrine of the Morning Mist 23-26: The end, which only vaguely connected to the beginning and middle. I wouldn't say this series is terrible, since it didn't drive us to abandon it halfway through, but it definitely has severe problems in a lot of ways.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 6: That gig may not have the dignity of full-fledged piracy, but it has to beat getting shot at.
  • Welcome to the NHK 14-15: Sato seems to be interacting just fine with a lot of people for a hikikomori. Yamazaki, on the other hand, seems like someone who would end up on top of a clock tower if they had guns in Japan.

When I came home, there were still twelve pawses!

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5 October 2012 - Friday

Good: It's Friday. Bad: Cow Orker M is out camping. Good: I'm not on call this weekend. Bad: The frogurt is also cursed.

Twelve paws!

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4 October 2012 - Thursday

Today I got New Cow Orker R set up with some VMs and a basic installation of the the product so he can experiment with it. I think that is the extent of my productivity.

Wow, it's a Liralen! And also a Bryant, who I hadn't seen in like 15 years. Bryant is very much like Bryant, only 15 years older and completely grey. (Liralen is always Liralen.) Also encountered: Bryant's wife Susan, Chrisber, Christyber, Teober, and some people I see more often like Ayse and Ken and Carl. We ate a million plates of Chinese food (containing meat, which confused the Chef Chu people greatly), and Too Much Ice Cream, and there was conversation.

My reread of Yubisaki Milk Tea (Tomochika Miyano) has come to the last volume published in the US, the 8/9 omnibus. Curse you, Tokyopop! But it looks like there is one more chapter available as scanlations, and that might be the conclusion. The end of volume 9 does look like it's heading toward a climax.

Giant Thief (David Tallerman) is an example of the secondary-world-without-magic subgenre? mode? trope? mixin? with a complete scoundrel for a main character who is only symapthetic because he's not violent and a stolen giant. Also, adventure (by which we mean discomfort, hunger, fatigue, and terror).

Manhattan in Reverse and Other Stories (Peter F Hamilton) is what it says on the tin. Most of the stories are set in the same future history as his most recent few novels, but some are random. They are all Hamilton.

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3 October 2012 - Wednesday

Cow Orker D (who just passed on the New Guy stick to New Cow Orker R) got dragged into doing an upgrade after hours, and then found out that someone at the customer site had compressed the gzip and gunzip executables. No one will admit to having done it, naturally. At least he didn't have to stay up until all hours shepherding the upgrade along.

Today, all trains were delayed two hours due to "police activity", but that was enough to convert them all to locals so I was able to get home at a reasonable hour (modulo getting stuck with an incident by Cow Orker A right before it was time to go home).

So many adorable paws!

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2 October 2012 - Tuesday

Today we had additional Hadoop training. We broke a Hadoop cluster, and then... we fixed it! Yay!

The Emperor's Knife (Mazarkis Williams) is reasonably standard fantasy, although with a creepier method of taking over a country than most. The end of the book is more conclusive than many first books, but it is prominently labelled as the beginning of a trilogy.

The Fractal Prince (Hannu Rajaniemi) is the sequel to The Quantum Thief, and is very confusing. Individual parts of it make sense, and are pretty interesting far-future adventure, with bonus wild nanotech conceptualized as Arabian Nights fantasy, but there are a lot of places where it's not clear if the previous N chapters actually happened.

The book does have an end, unlike many second books, but there's plenty of room for sequels.

On the way home, the train stopped dead for an hour (due to someone doing something stupid on the tracks, no doubt), so I had extra reading time but did not accomplish much when I got home.

Kitties are for petting!

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1 October 2012 - Monday


Today I didn't go in to work because I had stuff to do, and it threw my routine off completely. I ended up sleeping in too much, not eating a proper breakfast, eating an overrich lunch too late, etc. Blah.

Apparently the faceless real-estate corporation has tried this backdated rent raise with some other tentants it wished it had billed more, and Apartment Manager Hope is also pretty dubious about it. I paid the new value for this month, although subsequently I found out that they have to give us at least 30 days' notice by law, so there's a good case to be made that they can't raise the rent until November.

Apparently my ichor quality has decreased since I last visited a physician. I am not more bloated than before, so it's probably creeping organ failure rather than behavioral defects, but either way it's not good. I have again been exhorted to apply the ichorometer more rigorously, and also to exercise more (by striding briskly instead of dwadling, at least).

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