Previously, in Trip's Life...

28 February 2013 - Thursday

Finally we have been installed in our new permanent cubes, which are all together so that boss G3 can look directly into my cube at all times. I must find something to fill that space between pillar and wall.

Poor Aspen, she has been petted! And had mats clipped out of her fur!

Cats who are less antisocial sat on me while I watched Despicable Me, which was pretty funny. I want yellow capsule-like minions!

Rachel is completely correct that there should be a sequel called Despicable Us.

Despicable Titles by Carl (Sun Mar 3 03:16:35 2013)

Despicable Us would have been a much better title for Despicable Me 2, infesting theaters July 3rd.

Make a comment!

27 February 2013 - Wednesday

My attempt to have the team arranged in the new cubes such that I can hide in a corner with razor wire between me and the people who want to bother me has been foiled. Bah. ("Have you met people? They're very annoying.")

Ah, the reason other people are not confused by recovery actions is because other people can READ. Page OM26:

Roll the appropriate Affiliation die [...] plus any Stamina-based powers, appropriate Distinctions, or Specialties as desired. You may add in a trait from another player's hero, too, if it's appropriate, but you need to hand them a Plot Point for it, or they can roll their own support action to give an asset to you. [...] The Watcher opposes this with the doom pool and with the stress die you're trying to recover.

It doesn't say specifically, but I presume if the other hero is aiding you, they are giving up their own recovery action, because otherwise it would be complicated and vaguely silly.

Although many creepy and disturbing things happen in The Folly of the World (Jesse Bullington), most of them can be attributed to one or more of the viewpoint characters being completely nuts, so maybe it's just historical fiction set in the 1420s in the Dutch-speaking region. In any case, it's clear: Crazy people with swords are bad news.

Sander could reasonably be described as a murder-hobo.

Hello, fuzzy-pawed cats! You can obviously smell that I have been at the Food Place, but you will not get any of this food until tomorrow, because I am a cruel and terrible cat-dad!

Make a comment!

26 February 2013 - Tuesday

The new cube has the opposite chirality, so all the things I see out of the corner of my eye are on the wrong side. However, customers are still customers.

On the plus side, I beat cow orker Θ at foosball.

I guess all the books I requested through Link+ were on the same truck, because there were six of them waiting for me. So much for trimming down the stack!

Apparently I am about the only person who is too stupid to figure out how recovery rolls work, but the one example I could find suggests that it really is Affiliation die plus maybe a Distinction unless you have an appropriate Specialty or Power.

Another lesson learned from Sunday that I should have mentioned is that when players create new Milestones, they must come up with the 10-XP trigger first. Otherwise the Milestone will be, "1 XP when I use my favorite power effectively, and I'll come up with the 3-XP and 10-XP triggers later".

Twelve paws!

Milestones by Jeremy (Sat Mar 2 16:56:59 2013)

The 10-pointer was clearly "Take over the world, or decide it's not worthy of me," so 1 point for "Get my way with powers" was totally justified.

Re: Milestones by Trip (Sun Mar 3 17:31:16 2013)

Villains don't get Milestones!

Make a comment!

25 February 2013 - Monday

Not too busy with customers today, but we have to pack up our stuff so we can be moved to temporary holding pens while our curent cubes are torn down, and then moved to shiny new... cubes.

Boss2 thinks I successfully did what he told me, which I guess is good.

Hello, fuzzy cats! Hello! You are very opaque! Hello!

Marith does not understand about horrible GMing, although she should. Maybe this is what one should expect of someone who moves to San Jose!

Horrible GMing by Marith (Wed Feb 27 09:34:16 2013)

I understand enough about horrible GMing to know that you do not do it!

If your players really want to be goofy and you want to do actual roleplay and plot and seriousness, then that is an awkward fit - it doesn't mean either side is horrible.

Re: Horrible GMing by Trip (Wed Feb 27 10:38:38 2013)

You put the username and password as the poster and subject so I had to change it.

It's not like I'm any good at not being goofy, so clearly I should not try to do anything else.

oops sorry! by marith (Wed Feb 27 11:26:05 2013)

That'll teach me to post before cof^H^H^H random available morning stimulant!

Make a comment!

24 February 2013 - Sunday

Not too much on-call work today!

Earl and Adam were both consumed by work, so only Jeremy, Rachel, and Dave were there to watch me flail around patheticly with Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.

Creating random characters showed people what characters are like, but otherwise was a bad idea, because it encourages people to be goofy and I can't stop them even under normal circumstances. (What am I supposed to do, tell them to stop enjoying themselves?) I tried running the back-of-the-book adventure for them, but failed miserably. Despite my dislike for such things, I should probably have made them play the pregen characters, which they could hardly be less attached to than to random characters and which would have had established personalities and maybe ties to the villains. I should definitely have demanded description for everything the PCs did, and I should have had the villains not attack one at a time. Oh, and I should have figured out how to hose people by activating opportunities so that they didn't always roll in a d4 for free PPs.

(We never figured out how recovery rolls are supposed to work. It seems like most people only get their Affiliation die, and maybe a Distinction, against the whole Doom Pool, which means in practice no one ever gets more than the one step-back per transition scene. Is everyone supposed to throw a PP to the person with Medical specialty to get that die?)

So, I know what I should have done, but I didn't do it and have probably tainted MHRP irrevocably as a result. It's not like Jeremy was going to be happy with anything except HERO or GURPS Supers anyway, I guess.

The cats still like me, as long as I don't mess up gaming so badly that I stop having a high body temperature.

Happiness by Jeremy (Tue Feb 26 18:14:18 2013)

I can be perfectly happy with any system. I'll just substitute kvetching for munchkinism, if necessary - both are equally the way of my people.

Re: Happiness by Trip (Wed Feb 27 15:54:03 2013)

Well, it's not like I have any moral high ground about kvetching, only about munchkinism (because I'm terrible at it).

Make a comment!

23 February 2013 - Saturday

Bah, work. It's not onerous, but it has to be done on orders of Boss2.

Slog, slog, slog.

I probably should have socialized more with Ayse and Ken and Ayse's parents, but they seemed to be having fun socializing and/or drinking, so I watched anime with Marith and Dave.

  • Ano Hana 7: Is that really her wish? I guess there are only four episodes left, so it might be.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 22-23: That ship is kind of scary. Actually, so is the other one, despite the ridiculous grandstanding. And Dave totally called the villainous plan.
  • Nodame Cantabile III 4-5: Wow, Chiaki is almost jealous! He's doing better than the guy Tanya likes, at least.
  • Hanasaku Iroha 10: Health fail! Diplomacy fail!

I didn't get home until a million o'clock, but I did get home.

Make a comment!

22 February 2013 - Friday

Yay Friday! Boo on-call! Although, it's not likely to be much worse than last weekend when I wasn't on call.

Running a new system in a nonstandard setting and a nonstandard genre might not actually be a good idea. I wonder if they had what we would recognize as superheroes during the first reign of the Dwarf Lords of Sumatra?

Twelve paws!

Make a comment!

21 February 2013 - Thursday

Now other customer is freaking out.

Heroes & Heroines (various) is an art book of character designs for a whole bunch of Japanese video games and anime, including several that we have watched or are watching (Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fractale, Ano Hana, etc). There is definitely a style of the time.

There is apparently a game called Catherine, by the same team that did Persona 3? 4?. Not that I care, but other people might.

Marith unearthed my Black Lagoon manga in her move, so I can reread them. Ah, the glamorous life of a pirate.

Word of the day: skeuomorphism.

Cat of the day: opaque!

Catherine by marith (Fri Feb 22 11:58:35 2013)

I have read about that game! It sounds interesting in a theoretical kind of way, but depressing - I should read more about the actual gameplay and see if there's more to it than interactive fiction relationship doom. (Main character cheated on his girlfriend, and now the woman he had an affair with is pregnant and he's having Meaningful Dreams to emphasize his angst.)

re: Catherine by Trip (Fri Feb 22 14:59:13 2013)

Maybe it's one of those games you play to feel better about your own life?

Make a comment!

20 February 2013 - Wednesday

This customer opened a P1 incident, ignored our attempts to get in contact, and then opened a P2 incident for the situation they were in after taking remedial action on their own. Gaaaaaaaah.

To the author of Minions, Inc.: LERN 2 PRUFREDE!

Other than the poor production values, it seems like a viable, if wonky, Apocalypse World derivative. Instead of adding a constant to the 2d6 roll, MI increases the sizes of the dice (while keeping the breakpoints at 7 and 10 fixed), which gets silly at the high end, but does have the advantage that a miss is always possible (although only about 10% likely at 2d12). There are also rules for using grunts as a resource, and of course new playbooks, but overall it looks more like a hack of AW than a game using similar mechanics. I think it was one of the first AW spinoffs, so that's not surprising.

The lower levels of the field of costumed aggression are probably fertile ground for black comedy, but it seems a little too much like Papers & Paychecks. :)

Even White Trash Zombies Get The Blues (Diana Rowland) is as cute as My Life as a White Trash Zombie, although darker. I figured out the villainous plan pretty early on, but the main character does not have my advantages so I can't blame her for not thinking of it. (My version would have been easier to get funding for, though.)

Since there is a high probability I will be running Marvel Heroic Roleplaying on Sunday, I should probably figure out how to create adventures for it. I should also figure out how to create characters so I can explain it to people.

Twelve opaque paws!

Make a comment!

19 February 2013 - Tuesday

The customer is exploding because of something we did, rather than the third-party cause everyone was afraid of. That's... good? At least we can theoretically fix it, right?

Library books returned: 4.

Library books checked out: 0

Library books requested for later checkout:, look at that fluffy white tummy!

I usually like far-future/dying Earth settings, but Nights of Villjamur (Mark Charan Newton) didn't do it for me on that level. Not enough cyclopean works of the ancients, maybe. However, as general fantasy, it's not bad.

It seems like basic moves should be for goals, since the kinds of goals that characters want to accomplish are a big part of the genre you're trying to establish (AW example: seize or hold by force), but individual playbook moves should, or at least can, be about methods, to showcase the characters' different abilities. (Ghost Lines doesn't have individual playbooks, so it's a mutant in this respect.)

This leads back to the question of what playbooks Eclipse World needs. Eclipse Phase seems pretty mission-oriented, so making them the standard five roles for an adventuring team (Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby) seems natural, but the diversity of transhumanity should be showcased here. Bioconserative and Uplift seem to deserve to be playbooks, at least, although I'm not sure what kind of special moves Hypercapitalist Running Dog Lackey and Post-Scarcity Utopian Dreamer would have.

(Are Bioconservative and Uplift even viable character types? Without egocasting, getting to problem sites is a lot less practical. But it would be a shame to lose them.)

Make a comment!

18 February 2013 - Monday

Today is enough of a holiday that the trains have an arbitrarily different schedule, but not enough of a holiday that I don't have to go to work. At least the boss is out, so I can get away with not doing any work. (Not really.)

I keep wanting to make Eclipse World's stats and basic moves all symmetric, but I don't think that's actually productive. Possibly I need a better view of what deserve to be basic moves, which I'm not successfully extracting from other games: Apocalypse World has basic moves that are based on what you hope to accomplish (and how brutal you're willing to be to get it); Monsterhearts is roughly similar; Dungeon World is more action-oriented (doesn't matter what you want, if you're going to hurt people to get it you use Hack and Slash or Volley); and Ghost Lines just has one basic move for using each of the four stats, which are general enough that they fall somewhere between the two schools.

Or, in other words, is "When you push your morph past its limits, ..." a reasonable basic move? I have no idea. There definitely need to be moves related to resleeving, but what is the right set of moves to cover it?

Twelve paws.

Make a comment!

17 February 2013 - Sunday

Today I did not have to work on any customers, and it's an off week for gaming, so I pretty much sat and read all day. I did get up to take out the trash, though.

I eventually stopped reading Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal since it did not seem to be making a lot of progress but was accumulating too many characters for me to keep straight. However, I had no problem with it at the smaller scale, so I picked up his collection of short works, Emerald and other stories. They are weird and kind of disturbing, but I mostly knew what was going on, which I count as a triumph whenever it happens.

Phoenix Rising (Ryk E Spoor) is apparently based on an RPG campaign the author ran, and it does pretty much look like a fantasy game setting (many intelligent races, multitudes of gods who provide straight-up clerical magic, commercial spell-casting, licensed adventurers), but it is fun and has ninja toads.

Bad Glass (Richard E Gropp) is much more literary, but makes much less sense. I suppose never finding out anything about what's going on makes it all realistic and stuff, but meh. Pretty close to Eight Deadly Words.

Reading is better with kittysnuggles.

Make a comment!

16 February 2013 - Saturday

I am not actually on call, but there is still no brunch or anime for me; there is only Important Customer X and their decision to, rather than call us about the error, tinker with stuff until they got a different error from rerunning the upgrade, tinker and rerun until they get a different error, over and over, until finally they couldn't get a different error and had to call us.

Volume 7 of Atomic Robo (Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, et al) is pretty cool -- Robo meets an all-female band of air pirates in the southern Pacific after WWII -- but it introduces something that makes most of the conflict in volume 6 unnecessary. :(

The Last Page (Anthony Huso) is secondary-world steampunk horror with romance and severe SAN loss. I suppose a purist could say it's not real steampunk because X, but it has airships, limited electrical gadgetry, and cities full of slums and poison-spewing factories, so close enough for me. It also has creepy magic, mutant cultists, races older than humanity, and extra-creepy magic.

I am not certain Huso is using all his obscure words correctly, but that is a minor nit.

Tsutomu Nihei's previous works, Blame!! and Biomega were cool and reasonably SF, but very difficult to understand. The first volume of Knights of Sidonia is a lot more comprehensible, although still weird. Artificial structures of extraordinary magnitude FTW! (Not sure about the energetics of photosynthetic humans, but since they're indoors I guess they can crank up the lights as bright as they please.)

Maybe I should send this ferocious brown cat to eat the customers.

Make a comment!

15 February 2013 - Friday

In the days when I normally stayed up past midnight, working on a customer upgrade until 2:30 would have been only annoying. Now that I am aged and decrepit, it is not very much fun at all. Cow Orker P and I got through it, though, with some degree of success.

The cats did not help to excess.

Atomic Robo (Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, et al) vol 6: some AIs just need to be put down, yep.

Make a comment!

14 February 2013 - Thursday

More customers. More meetings.

Zed (Michel Gagné) is cute and some of the backgrounds remind me of Dr Seuss, but it has kind of a lot of deus ex machina.

Marith is still alive! She has not had a chance to unpack anything, though, because there is never a time when she is not working late into the night.

Twelve paws!

Make a comment!

13 February 2013 - Wednesday

Customers. Meetings.

Comics. Cats.

Make a comment!

12 February 2013 - Tuesday

Cow Orker A is back, so he can explain things to people.

The engineer responsible for dealing with an issue has finally, after several weeks, attained the same level of understanding that I had when it was first reported. You'd think people could manage to at least be smarter than me, sheesh. ("Have you met people? They're very annoying.")

City of Saints and Madmen (Jeff VanderMeer) is definitely New Weird. Secondary world, check. Urban, check. Bizarre customs, check. Depravity, check. Violation of bodily integrity, check. No actual magic, but lots of exotic fungi and cephalopods.

The book is a collection of shorter works, all concerning the city of Ambergris, sometimes metafictively. The last one is a short story plus a voluminous set of notes and evidence regarding the crazy person who thinks he invented Ambergris as a literary setting even though he is in the loony bin in Ambergris. The bibliography is especially amusing.

Finally, a decrease in the number of library books checked out!

I finished the first disk of Kanon while cats sat on me. Maybe that was the problem with the first time I watched it? Anyway, the visuals and soundtrack remind me a lot of Clannad, probably for obvious reasons.

Make a comment!

11 February 2013 - Monday

Cow Orker A is out, so of course everyone wants to know about the thing that he has been working on and they want to know Right Now.

The most recent (translated) volume of Bleach (Tite Kubo) claims that it is beginning the final plot arc. Of course, this is volume 55, so there could still be 30 volumes to go.

The eponymous object of Bowl of Heaven (Gregory Benford, Larry Niven) is essentially a ringworld plus a huge amount of additional mass to use the star as an engine. Is this more or less cool than the space-time engineering of other recent hard SF?

There is allegedly another book coming, which may explain the bits that seem inconsistent.

Twelve paws!

Make a comment!

10 February 2013 - Sunday

No gaming today because half the group is unavailable.

Today, professional strong guys put all of Marith's stuff in boxes and carried it to San Jose, where it was desposited in her shiny new apartment just down the street from Monkeycat Towers. Now I am all alone in Mountain View, and will never see anyone again, ever.

I guess this means I should look into doing something with my life. Maybe online courses or something.

Marith was entirely nerve-wracked and in no shape to drive or even feed herself after moving, so we took her on the light rail to Flames. Ayse and I decided that we just wanted to order bunch of appetizers for dinner, and then it turned out that we were still in Happy Hour so appetizers were half off. Happy, happy hour!

So round.

Volume 37 claims to be the penultimate volume of Negima! (Ken Akamatsu). The major plot is over, so now the characters need two volumes back in their native environment of romantic comedy for denouement. Naturally, the question of who Negi will choose (if anyone) is being delayed until the very last moment.

I finally got around to setting up the new box of warmth near my bed, so the cats can sleep cozily and still easily pester me for gooshyfood. Why did this seem like a good idea?

Make a comment!

9 February 2013 - Saturday

Today I helped Marith prepare to get moved tomorrow. I wasn't much help, but I carried approximately two dumpster-fulls of stuff down to the two dumpsters conveniently located at the far end of the complex, so at least I was a strong back, even if a weak mind.

I only had to advise the on-call guy for about half an hour, so I am not too disgruntled.

I had Netflix send me Kanon because the preview looked interesting, but apparently I have watched it before and gave up because it was too slow. Well, maybe I have more patience now.

You don't want to move, do you, cats?

Make a comment!

8 February 2013 - Friday

I made it to Friday, but I'm not sure my brain did.

Volume 4 of A Bride's Story (Kaoru Mori) continues to follow the intrepid anthropologist, Dr Smith, as he travels through western Asia and encounters people with extremely detailed clothes. Seriously, how do Mori's hands not fall off?

Twelve paws!

Make a comment!

7 February 2013 - Thursday

Mucus levels have dropped to where I was able to use the brain inflator last night. Without being woken up by not breathing, I remember my dreams a lot less.

I wanted to find an empty conference room to sit and do some online training, but since so many of the conference rooms and phone rooms are undergoing rebuilding, there aren't any that aren't either booked solid or camped. Bah!

My clever plan to set up a warm box was foiled by the only outlet on that wall being switched (and used for the lamp, so I can't just leave it on all the time). I ended up just putting the kittywarmer on the pile of folded blankets where Marmalade usually hangs out anyway. I'll work something out tomorrow.

Make a comment!

6 February 2013 - Wednesday

Mucus levels are declining at last. Customer explosions, not so much.

I finally got a new kittywarmer like the first one, although I have not decided where to set it up. Maybe in a box in my room? Or on the chair next to my computer chair?

Now I realize I forgot to use my raincheck to get the sale price on the kittywarmer. Meh.

Make a comment!

5 February 2013 - Tuesday

Mucus levels remain high. Customers blowing things up remain common.

Red Plenty (Francis Spufford) is an account of how central economic planning looked like it was going to bring prosperity to the Soviet Union in the 50s and 60s... and then didn't. It's in a strange space between fiction and nonfiction, since many of the specific events and characters aren't exactly what happened, but most of the details are drawn from actual history of the time, slightly rearranged or reattributed for better narrative flow, and the characters that aren't historical are parallels or amalgamations of people who were almost in the right narrative flow. There are also extensive end-notes describing the deviations from known history and where to look for that history.

It is easy to sit here 25 years after the Berlin Wall came down, with 50 more years of complexity theory and experience with computers failing to make the world perfect, and say it's obvious that it never could have worked, but at the time it was really not entirely obvious that central planning was doomed. Stalin was gone, the Soviet economy was expanding, and linear programming and electronic computers offered the hope of optimizing production. If only economies were not full of humans, they would have been okay.

(Earl made me read it.)

Twelve paws.

Make a comment!

4 February 2013 - Monday

Mmm, mucusy support.

Bah, two out of six gamers are out this Sunday, so no Diaspora Effect or superheroes for me. I need more gamers, but everyone I know is having kids or living in distant places or something silly like that.

Maybe I should just move to Idaho and live under a rock.


Make a comment!

3 February 2013 - Sunday

Marith's new place is very nice. I would envy it, except that it doesn't allow cats and is in San Jose.

Ja Baby was so very sad that the surprise Auntie Marith visit had to come to an end. Very very sad.

Curses! Foiled Again (Jane Yolen, Mike Cavallaro) is the sequel to Foiled, which contains much more doom and less cuteness, but also victory and scary witches.

I'm not terribly familiar with the genre, but I am assured Unspoken (Sarah Rees Brennan) is very much a Gothic novel, despite being set in the modern day. Mysterious brooding aristocrats, mysterious peril, secret ancestral taint; but also intrepid girl reporters, hot blondes on motorbikes, and self-defense training.

Kami is awesome. Angela is awesome too, in her misanthropic way. ("Have you met people? They're very annoying.") Even Holly is pretty awesome, although she does not get as much screen time.

The magic seems to be pure wish-fulfillment, but oh well.

The entire contents of my cranium have been replaced by mucus. Fortunately, I do not need any brains to pet cats and watch Eddie Izzard.

Make a comment!

2 February 2013 - Saturday

We have not yet extracted all the fun from Dominion: Dark Ages, especially since Some People still like playing Rats + Death Carts. I even won one, although not the one with Rats.

Ghost Lines is an Apocalypse World-derived and extremely minimal game. It consists of three pages, of which one is the character sheet (including basic moves), ½ page is art, one page is more specialized moves, and ½ page is setting:

It is the year 891 of the Imperium that united the shattered isles of the cataclysm under one rule -- all glory to his majesty the Immortal Emperor.

You work the ghost lines--the electro-railroad that passes through the ink-dark deadlands between cities. Spirits of the dead, drawn to the vital essence of the living, often get entangled in the powerful electrical field generated by the trains. Line bulls like you walk the length of the cars, magnetized boots clanking and breather-mask hissing, to clear the offending spirits with your lightning-hooks before they do too much damage.

Each city of the Imperium is encircled by crackling lightning-towers to create an electrical shell that spirits cannot penetrate. By law, all corpses are incinerated with lightning-oil (to destroy the spirit essence within) but sometimes, wealthy citizens, heretics of the spirit cults, or the criminal element arrange for a ghost to escape destruction at the crematorium.

So called "rogue spirits" are also dealt with by bulls like you. For a fee, of course.

The evocative phrases are put together in sentences, but I wonder if this qualifies as an oracle game anyway?

  • Hanasaku Iroha 8: You know, if you just told each other what you were doing and when you expected to be done, all this drama would be COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY.
  • Ano Hana 5-6: This drama could possibly be avoided by communication, but at least they have reasons for not talking. Also, some of it would be best eliminated by Impact training.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 21: Definite bonus points for starships not being good in atmosphere and high-energy weapons being very bad in atmosphere.
  • Nodame Cantabile III 3:
  • Hanasaku Iroha 9: Victory! Except for people who don't communicate. And of course the heroine was right and the grasping management consultant was wrong.

I figure as long as Jinian still enjoys pettins, her quality of life is probably okay. But I should take my cats in to get checked up.

Make a comment!

1 February 2013 - Friday

Yay, it's Friday! Also, one of the engineers I respect praised my scripting powers.

I tried to go to a new restaurant for dinner, but none of the ones I passed seemed both interesting and not saturated in meat, so I ended up at Chef Liu. I suspect the waitress was actually laughing at the inept white guy, but she was ostensibly nice so I don't care.

I should be rewriting SCOOS, but instead, like always when I get back from commuting and working and commuting, I am going blblblblblbl. (It is probably no coincidence that SCOOS dates from a time when I literally got paid just for showing up to work; the client did not have enough organization to either give us work or end the contract.)

This month, I want to rewrite everything as an Apocalypse World variant, but that's only because I suck, not because it's necessarily appropriate. Anyway, what SCOOS needs more than better mechanics (although it does need those too) is something for the PCs to do.

Ah, apparently I also thought this eight and a half years ago. Well, I was right then, too.

I reread Foiled (Jane Yolen, Mike Cavallaro), the story of a teenage fencer who gets mixed up in the machinations of the faeries of New York City, because there is a sequel. It is still cute. Aliera's internal-butterflies expression is great.

Hello, my fuzzy beasts of fuzziness!

Make a comment!

Google Custom Search


This file was last modified by