Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 November 2012 - Friday

It's Like Tuesday! But it's Friday! Hurray two-day work week!

The Hole Behind Midnight (Clinton Boomer) is pretty much Unknown Armies: weirdos get magical power by obsessing over things no one else cares about, and use it mostly to annoy each other. The main character is not a sterling example of humanity, but he's amusing. "Likably unlikable", as one blurber put it.

Red Hood and the Outlaws (Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort) shows that I don't have enough DC Universe lore to read DC comics.

Twelve fuzzy paws!

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29 November 2012 - Thursday

It's Monday! But it's Thursday!

My cow orkers say I am never allowed to go on vacation again.

Cold Days (Jim Butcher) is the 937th book in the "Dresden Files" series, and continues the upward trend in power and the downward trend in happiness for the main character. This time around, Dresden gets two power boosts, neither of which he should ever use. Also, Molly gets hosed.

I'm sorry I was not around to run the heater all morning, cats!

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28 November 2012 - Wednesday

Last day of vacation! Woe!

I have been meaning to go to REI and get a new backpack and maybe some shoes that won't wear out instantly, but the only time I've over on that side of town has been after work, when I don't want to do anything except load up on comics and cat food and go home. However, today was new comics day and I am on vacation! Mere pouring rain could not stop me!

The shoe guy at REI, whose name I did not get, was very helpful. Unfortunately, they do not seem to make shoes for exactly what I do, but track running shoes seem to be the closest. The ones I got are not even near the most expensive ones, but they still better last me a while.

Twelve paws!

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27 November 2012 - Tuesday

Yes, I do have to have a current valid government photo ID in order to get anything notarized as coming from the real me. I was pretty sure that was the case, but I had to ask. So, 2-4 weeks, and then I can start on the next step.

Finally, volume 3 of Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro (Satoko Kiyuduki) is out! Kuro and her gang of weirdos are definitely making progress through their 4-koma fairy-tale adventures, but the final confrontation with the evil witch is clearly still a ways off.

Aron's Absurd Armada (MiSun Kim) is a bit too absurd for me. Also, too much homophobia.

I have been thinking about Dungeon World, but not getting very far with ideas for what doom the PCs should face. Possibly I need to actually sit down with some Fronts sheets. (Dying in a pit also seems like an option, although I won't say for who.)

Twelve paws!

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26 November 2012 - Monday

Now, I am on vacation again!

From the looks of email, I don't need to feel bad that I didn't get the customer from yesterday squared away, because no one else is making much progress with them either. On the other hand, it's a missed opportunity to display my innnate superiority.

The next available DMV appointment was Dec 10th, so I just took a book and went to sit in line. When I checked the website, the wait was 1:10, when I got there it was 2:00, and by the time they actually called my number, it had been more like three hours. They did accept that they had already cashed my check, though, and there were no further hitches that they admitted to. However, I wait 2-4 weeks (starting from 6 weeks after the 4-6 weeks began), which is not much like getting working ID in time to travel in January.

Twelve paws! Also, lots of Angband and some sudoku.

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25 November 2012 - Sunday

Today, the customers called. Well, just one customer. But they called a lot. I spent all day off and on working on their problem, without making a huge amount of progress. It was no fun. The cats also thought it was no fun, because I wouldn't leave the glowy thing or let them sleep on the warm squares.

However, tomorrow I am on vacation, so it will not be my problem any more!

Naughty and Nice (Bruce Timm) contains pictures of women with little or no clothing drawn in Timm's style and that's about it. Almost all the pictures are simple one-figure studies with minimal background and not much in the way of action. I don't think this even counts as pornography.

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24 November 2012 - Saturday

The customers did not call today, even though I really expected them to (Black Friday sales -> pounding on databases).

Ayse and Ken bought Dungeon World, so despite knowing it would turn out wretchedly, I let them persuade me to run it. Ja Baby actually slept during her quiet time, so we were able to go through the character generation process and construct a party of one human fighter (Gregor) from the Frozen North, one human bard (Lily) sent out into the world by a follower of the god of knowledge, one halfling druid (Dunstan) from the Towering Mountains, and one human thief (Angela, which I did not notice until later was not on the list — BAD Marith) who thinks plans are boring. I should probably have been grilling them more about character background, but we did establish a few things about the world:

  • Due to a divine mishap humans are not able to comprehend, the god of knowledge's store of Forbidden Knowledge had gotten strewn across the world.
  • One of the first pieces of Forbidden Knowledge that was put to use keeps the gods away from the world, so they can't come down and clean things up themselves.
  • About fifty years ago, someone used FK to make a plague to kill the horses of the steppe nomads that were annoying her. Now people everywhere are reduced to riding aurochs, which are much less satisfactory.
  • Something ominous is happening in the Frozen North, but what Gregor saw on his way south was probably just the aurora borealis. Almost certainly.
  • There is someone who knows the secret of never dying, but she is locked in a dungeon under some emperor's palace with her mouth nailed shut so she can't tell anyone.
  • In the city that is like Venice (probably called Serenissima, because all settings should be more like the Kushiel books, right?), no member of any noble house except the royal family is successfully having children.
  • There is a Forbidden ritual to bend all the spirits of nature to one villain's will, which the spirits of nature would much rather remained lost forever.

Then we started to have a sample fight with bandits in the Marsh of Death Alone, but parenting intervened before Angela could get even a fraction of what was probably coming to her for walking into a bandit camp by herself.

  • Nodame Cantabile II 4-5: A jumpkick seems pretty reasonable in that situation, considering the annoyance had been building up for months while Chiaki was off consorting with hot Chinese musicians.
  • Welcome to the NHK 23-24: That was a pretty dramatic ending, but not thematically inappropriate.
  • UN-GO 9: The detective may be suffering from existential angst, but he should still keep a closer eye on his pet supernatural horror.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 14: That's not what I expected to happen with the cat-monkeys at all. It is exactly what everyone expected to happen with the Yacht Club, though.

Next week, Hanasaka Iroha. I wonder what it's about? (Of course I could look it up, but I think it'll let it be a suprise.)

Twelve adorable paws!

Dungeon world by marith (Thu Nov 29 15:50:33 2012)

You forgot my forbidden lore! In the Palace there is, or used to be, a mechanical bird that sang. If it ever makes a noise again, something terrible will happen. Angela just made that up, admittedly, but I think it'd be highly entertainign if it turned out to be true. (There is probably an order of monks watching over it at this point.)

I didn't think we had to stick to the limited list of names. None of the thief names were right at all! And plans are not boring, plans are essential! Other people's plans may be boring though.

Re: Dungeon World by Trip (Thu Nov 29 20:33:41 2012)

That's why I forgot it: it isn't real Forbidden Knowledge at all, it's just a scam! (Also because I didn't have my notebook.)

You were supposed to stick to the lists, but I can rationalize excessively innocent eyes as being criminal eyes. :) Maybe Angela isn't her real name!

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23 November 2012 - Friday

Today, I am not on call and also not at work! This is like being completely useless!

Okay, I did feed and pet some cats, and ran the heater for them.

I have new manga to read!

Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends (Yomi Hirasaka, Itachi) is in the time-honored genre of "lock a bunch of crazy people together in a room". It is amusing but not much more than that.

Missions of Love (Ema Toyama) is also in a time-honored manga genre, "blackmail for romance", but it doesn't make me froth. Possibly this is because the blackmail is going against the normal power differential instead of with it (I'm looking at you, Hot Gimmick), possibly it is because the target totally deserves to be oppressed, possibly it is because the female lead is a writer, possibly it is because I am a jerk.

Tomorrow I will be on call again. Bah.

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22 November 2012 - Thursday


The cats got a double ration of gooshyfood to celebrate!

This year I did not go to Roseville, because I am a terrible friend. Instead I went to Monkeycat Towers to eat with Ayse and Ken and Ja Baby and Ta Baby and Dave, and also with Marith and Ha Baby and her parents and their friend Chris (who is a grad student at Tech — small planet, I guess).

Cooking always takes longer than people plan (my theory is that Ken likes cooking so much he doesn't notice time passing while he does it) but we got many standard Thanksgiving dishes on the table before the toddlers melted down irrevocably and nommed them all. Hurray!

Some people did conversation, but I hid.

The customers did not attack, yay!

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21 November 2012 - Wednesday

Yay! It's like Friday! Only with a long weekend! But I'm on call.

Apparently it is too late to shop for brown'n'serve rolls, never mind ones that contain no dairy. Whole Foods sold me some that are frozen and need some cooking and are packed with extra air to make them difficult to store. I hope they will be acceptable.

I couldn't figure out what was going on in volume 1 of 07-Ghost (Yuki Amemiya, Yukino Ichihara), or even tell the characters apart (a particular hazard of manga in a military setting where everyone dresses similarly), which makes it unlikely that I will pick up volume 2.

I had forgotten how much non-fluffy stuff there was in A Civil Campaign (Lois McMaster Bujold). But then, of course, there are the butter bugs.

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20 November 2012 - Tuesday

I seem to have filled up my vacation bucket. I guess I better start emptying it soon!

Komarr is not as intense as Memory, but still pretty good. Ekaterin really is about that awesome.

I am not sure about the orbital mechanics of the soletta, but that is a minor point that only lame people care about.

Twelve paws!

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19 November 2012 - Monday

Boo Monday!

Yay short week!

I think Memory (Lois McMaster Bujold) was the right place to begin rereading. I still have fond memories of Mirror Dance, but didn't feel the need to reread it for Memory.

Miles, you idiot.

Ivan actually seems remarkably sensible by this point, although with a sane dislike for getting involved in Miles's schemes.

Twelve fuzzy paws!

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18 November 2012 - Sunday

Diaspora Effect was a shortish session today, consisting mostly of fight scenes. We did get to see Jeremy's character volunteer to be strapped into the Couch Of Death by the villains, and then engage in brain-to-brain combat with the cult leader. He even survived, mostly intact.

Earl has promised to send out the introduction to the cult leader's upcoming book on how to become a functional subcomponent of the Old Machine New Regime. (Lose 1d4 SAN.)

Adam's character was off chasing her sister, who is allegedly sucking out souls for the cult. We will see what happened with that later, I presume.

After watching it on and off for quite a long time, I have finally finished the 26 episodes of Princess Resurrection that I have. It doesn't get anywhere near the ending of the manga storyline (which I have not actually seen — scanlators, why do you fail me? — but is way, way past that point) and doesn't have an ending of its own. It just stops after the episode with Hime's bedroom (which is not as salacious as it sounds, or really at all). The anime is sufficiently inferior to the manga that I am not likely to bother looking around for a second season.

Twelve paws!

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17 November 2012 - Saturday

For no particular reason, I started rereading of Chibi Vampire (Yuna Kagesaki) a while back and finally finished all fourteen volumes. I wanted something cute and mindless to read before going to sleep every night, and this pretty much filled the bill.

Last night's customer is exploding again, or still, and the second-newest guy is on call, which means...

At least we figured out that the problem is with their labelling, not with our software (mostly).

Dungeon World is on sale for only $10!

(The free version is still available for now, but it looks like it's worth paying for the better layout and printable character sheets alone.)

Despite the perfidy of the hospital in failing to issue Ayse a valid prescription for strong narcotics, she and Ken and New External Baby returned to Monkeycat Towers amid much flailing. (Did you know that surgery causes pain?) I'm not sure Ja Baby was best pleased by having so many people decline to join her tea party because they had to do things for NXB, but she'll get used to it. Probably.

NXB is very red, which I hear is a good sign, and has a good grip and apparently also strong nursing instincts. His other virtues will become apparent in due course, no doubt.

  • Mouretsu Pirates 12: I'm not really sure I followed that, but it was exciting.
  • Nodame Cantabile II 3: Nodame has trouble with "why" questions. But at least she wasn't tickled into signing away three months of her life.
  • Welcome to the NHK 22: Now Sato has alienated, or is alienated from, pretty much everyone he's met during the past 21 episodes. What can he do during the two remaining episodes to turn his life around?
  • UN-GO 7-8: That was freaky.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 13: Wind-down of the first demi-season and introduction to a new plot arc. Surely something named a "cat-monkey" must be perfectly safe to have on a starship.

Twelve paws!

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16 November 2012 - Friday

No, customer, do not explode on Friday afternoon!


The latest Bujold book, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, was much more what I expect a Vorkosigan book to be than Cryoburn was, even though Miles only appears in one brief scene. I don't know that it was one of the better Vorkosigan books — certainly not compared to Mirror Dance or Memory — but it was enjoyable. Ivan is much more sympathetic than Mark, too.

I think I need to reread A Civil Campaign, where the groundwork for Ivan's current distress was laid.

So many paws!

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15 November 2012 - Thursday

New Cow Orker R is coming along well. Soon I will not have to do any work at all, which is good because my manager seems to be telling me to not do all the work.

Via Marith: Pre-Raphernalia (politer than Kate Beaton but in similar spirit).

Hello, fuzzy-pawed cats!

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14 November 2012 - Wednesday


Ayse and Ken are two-time winners in the Genetic Steeplechase!

Now Cow Orker D is feeling poorly. Aster Support seems to be a more dangerous job than I had originally expected.

But, I fixed two customer problems today (well, one problem and one potential problem spotted by the Teradata support person at the customer site), which is like justifying my existence.

Via Marith: Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks (not exactly what it sounds like).

Twelve paws!

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13 November 2012 - Tuesday

I don't think it works for a customer to demand an immediate fix and then refuse access to the cluster for troubleshooting.

A Beautiful Friendship is a YA book by David Weber, which is kind of a frightening thought. It is certainly a tale of adventure and interspecies friendship, but it does have definite flaws. It is Weber-tastic with respect to guns, which seems likely to limit the audience, and the main character is maybe a little too brave and clever and awesome. Also, I strongly disagree with the decision to retcon the treecats into full sapience, although I understand opinions differ on this point[*].

[*] Because other people are wrong.

Twelve fuzzy paws that would like the heater turned on NAOW PLZ.

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12 November 2012 - Monday

Yay, Cow Orker M is back! He's still not at 100%, but hopefully will get there soon with a minimum of medical intervention.

Twelve paws!

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11 November 2012 - Sunday

Queen Aspen ruled from the laundry throne! But she abdicated (or maybe abdicatted) when I went in.

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10 November 2012 - Saturday

Brunchingu, brunchingu, la la la!

Ja Baby is super-shrieky when Auntie Marith comes to visit, and super-tantrumy when Auntie Marith wants to take a nap, but I distracted her with books and play-doh and more books while her mom did parturitionary things downstairs.

It seems pretty likely Ja Baby will be a big sister any day now!

I won Starfarers of Catan against both Dave and Ken! This is due entirely to my getting a free space jump on the first turn, but a victory is a victory. (And it looked like this one might not come through when I spent turns and turns without the resources to build another ship after immediately putting a space dock on my far-flung colony, so it was tolerably exciting.)

Our anime viewing was all scrambled because Dave is a right-to-left-reading weirdo, but that's fine.

  • UN-GO 5: More corruption revealed! Existence of heroism not settled! Detective Guy seems pretty cavalier about taking his illegal robot out in public.
  • Welcome to the NHK 19-21: I suppose that's one way to get a hikikomori to leave his den, but they don't seem to be trying it on Sato. Maybe other forms of deprivation?
  • UN-GO 6: Did the corrupt rival actually do something good? Better than the guy in prison, anyway.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 11: Princess vs Princess in the giant ship!

Rx For Chaos is a collection of short stories by Christopher Anvil, mostly on the theme of unintended side effects of new technologies. Ah, for the days when we thought simple chemistry and metallurgy would give us vast power! Anyway, some of the stories were okay, but most of them were fairly obvious. Also, not so much with the female characters.

Aspen slept by my feets!

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9 November 2012 - Friday

Yay! It's Friday!

Dark Currents (Jacqueline Carey) is part of a new series, "Agent of Hel". (The way the backstory bits are presented makes them sound like recaps, but I couldn't find any previous books.) It is defintely in the paranormal detective romance genre, although there is at least as much squalid crime to be unravelled as there is sexual tension.

Apparently vampires are now too commonplace to be satisfyingly tragic and broody and must be replaced by a different kind of undead that can only be produced by epicly tragic death.

Dark Currents wasn't as imaginative as the Kushiel books, but it was perfectly enjoyable. I will read more in the series if they come out.

I return bearing boons of gooshyfood for all kittykind!

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8 November 2012 - Thursday

For some reason, it is not Friday yet. I think this week may be defective.

The train was better today, but still too late to catch the convenient bus to the cat supply store.

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7 November 2012 - Wednesday

Today, the customers attack! We had two different emergencies, a bunch of things that aren't emergencies but are very important because they are for Big Customer X, and some other random things.

I hope Cow Orker M returns soon.

Infidel and Rapture (Kameron Hurley) are the sequels to God's War. Each one stands on its own, more or less, and Nyx has several years to screw up her life even more between them, but there is certainly an overarching plot which leads to even stranger parts of her world and history. A lot of people die horribly, too.

I tried to shop for cat supplies, but the train hit a car (abandoned on the tracks) and was an hour and a half late.

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6 November 2012 - Tuesday

Getting a passport is going to be a pain.

God's War (Kameron Hurley) is about a terrible person on a war-ravaged, dubiously-habitable planet that runs almost entirely on bugs, so it's fairly grim. However, it was cool learning about the world, and it's not often you see a society where women are valued for being strong and dominant instead of pretty and submissive.

Nyx really is an exceptionally horrible person for a protagonist. If you tried to write this up in D&D, she'd be chaotic evil. (I think Apocalypse World would be a better fit, though.)

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5 November 2012 - Monday

Cow Orker M is still out. I haven't heard anything on when he might be back.

Last Dragon is very similar to JM McDermott's books: scary people from the wilderness tracking criminals through squalid cities, limited but not nonexistent fantasy elements, urban squalor, honor, and scrambled chronology framed as reminiscence.

I did a few more panda quests, but meh. The cats needed petting anyway.

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4 November 2012 - Sunday

Because I could, I reread Azumanga Daioh (Kiyohiko Azuma). It is still pretty excellent.

This week's Diaspora Effect session was exploration and exposition, but next session seems likely to be all conflict all the time.

In this session, our troubleshooters went to the planet of ruins on top of ruins, where Exogeni got mind controlled and duplicated by plants (as seen in one of the Mass Effect games) and the mad scientist funded by Harnu Ers was trying to do research on the plants without anyone getting mind-controlled outside the parameters set by the IRB (and without getting shanked by the archaeological prospectors that gather around any ruins).

Notable discoveries:

  • One of the mad scientists from the ill-fated Carlsson expedition found some ancient kit attached to one of the nodes of the planet-wide which he claimed could transfer minds into new bodies, and used this to accumulate a cult of species-dysmorphic humans.
  • Near his lair is a shaft tunnelled up from beneath with antiproton beams, and at the bottom of the shaft, in the endless three-dimensional maze, are giant rolling spheres of death which are probably the densorans' Shining Children.
  • The mad scientist has demonstrated his mastery of the plant-machine by duplicating himself and printing out a densoran who was eaten by the plant long ago, but the process is still unreliable so the cult leaders use kidnap victims and unworthy underlings for experimentation.
  • The densoran replica claims that the plant network is a soul-sucking Prothean weapon of cultural assimilation and wants to erase itself and all other densoran minds from the plant so they can't be turned against their people.
  • Norbert speaks gestures fluent Densoran.
  • The armor-negating densoran teleport guns will only irritate the Shining Children. We hope they will be more useful against cultists.

Next time: explosions!

Twelve paws!

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3 November 2012 - Saturday

No significant on-call action today, hurrah!

Jinian is still a sick kitty, and not likely to ever become well, but she is doing okay and doesn't need to see the vet again for three months as long as she continues to do okay. Sadly, this is about as much as we can hope for from a kitty who is old enough to vote.

Monkeycatland was full of Austrians and conversation and delivery Chinese food, but not full of peace and quiet. Also not full of festivities being over by 19:00, because "we're not doing a big group dinner or anything" means "we are having people stay for dinner and kids are staying up late too".

  • Nodame Cantabile II 1-2: Chiaki and Nodame never meet normal sane people, no matter where they go.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 10: Points off for space storms. Bonus points for labor laws applying to pirate captains. I think.
  • UN-GO 4: This setting is not looking any better to live in. Also, it is full of crazy creepy people.

Immobility (Brian Evenson) is definitely in the horror genre, although one might hold out hope that it's SF until the final chapter.

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2 November 2012 - Friday

Cow Orker M would be on call, but he's still out, so we put the new guys on call. This means that all the rest of us are on call, except Cow Orker A who is still tending to his wife.

Back, you customers! Get back!

Finally I can read I Shall Wear Midnight! It was probably worth the wait, although it was weird to have Tiffany cross over with other subseries, however briefly. I don't think witch books and Ankh-Morpork books work well together.

I appreciate books where the obnoxious minor characters are nevertheless competent and useful.

This could easily be the last book in the subseries, but doesn't have to be.

Twelve fuzzy paws!

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1 November 2012 - Thursday

Cow Orker A's wife is in the hospital with gall stones. Cow Orker M is still out on medical leave. Cow Orker D was going to be out to have his cybertooth attached, but decided to log in after he escaped the dentist after all, which is good.

I'm up to the book before the one that made me start at the beginning, Wintersmith. I had forgotten a lot of it, but not all of it. It's myffic!

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