Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 March 2013 - Sunday

Happy Dead Fiction On A Stick Day!

But it's an excuse to eat deviled eggs (fortunately eggs have a hard outer casing so that Ja Baby can play several rounds of Hide The Eggs without their edibility decreasing too much), caramelized shallots, ham, asparagus, and caramelized shallots.

I like caramelized shallots. I also like deviled eggs, but I'm pretty sure the shallots are healthier, even prepared that way.

Ken finally got to play a Small World Realms scenario, but the reinforcement die betrayed him horribly so he lost. It betrayed Dave as well, but Dave was not playing the Will-o-Wisps, so it was less crucial and he managed to crush us like the insects we are.


Although most of the stories in New Cthulhu (ed Paula Guran) are entertaining and/or creepy, the strongest ones were mostly the ones I had read before (with a couple of exceptions that were by authors I generally liked though I hadn't read those specific stories before). But it is good to see that the Mythos is still going strong in the hands of writers who do not suck.


Maybe it was a trick question this time? At least, I couldn't find any of the options that had no possibility of being true, so I had to leave them all unchecked. Marmalade didn't find any either, although I don't think he checks his work very carefully when there is a possibility of pettins.

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30 March 2013 - Saturday

Today, I was useless! I tried to be a little bit useful, but the questions on the assignment were all either trivial or impossible.

Surprisingly, I did not get any surprise on-call.


  • Nodame Cantabile III 9: Go Nodame!
  • Hanasaku Iroha 15-16: Surely nothing can go wrong with this plan.
  • Steins;Gate 1-2: We're pretty sure something is really going on, but I suppose it could still all turn out to be the main character's delusions.
  • Cross Game 3: I wonder if I will do better at keeping the characters distinct with the anime than I did with the manga? They have such caricatured designs it should be easy, but...

Marith forced me to stay up too late by giving me the first volume of Questionable Content. The early art was terrible, but the characters were pretty adorable.


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29 March 2013 - Friday

Yay Friday! Yay me not on call!


The first plot arc of Bad Machinery (John Allison) is in print. I bought it. I read it. I laughed and laughed. Then I laughed some more.


Grenadier successfully concluded in 12 episodes, although I'm not sure about that one villain's motivation for surrendering.


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28 March 2013 - Thursday

I got next Tuesday off, so I can help take Ja Baby to a zoo!


Please do not eat my town, jellyfish monster. (via Twitter, from somewhere or other)


The Drowned World (J G Ballard) is allegedly a classic, but I mostly found it to be extremely 60s. Racism: check; sexism: check; vague psychobabble about ancestral memory: check. I guess it's supposed to be a riff on Heart of Darkness, but it's been 25 years since I read that, and I didn't pay much attention at the time, so I only understand it at the level of the Literary Fluxx goal "Heart of Darkness": if you have Jungle and Madness both on the table, you win.


The second half of this week's lecture also makes sense while it is being explained. I looked at the assignment and think I can do it, but history suggests this is not a substitute for actually doing it.

Marmalade and his tail helped me watch the lecture. I guess all videos are better if they're orange!

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27 March 2013 - Wednesday

I managed to clear out a bunch of old tickets. Maybe I should work on new tickets.


I managed to watch the first section of this week's lecture, and it seemed clear while the instructor was explaining...


Impulse (Steven Gould) is Jumper: The Next Generation. I'm surprised it took them twenty years to realize what other powers they get as spin-offs of Teleport, but oh well. Cent is pretty cute, in a crazed teenager sort of way, and there is plenty of derring-do.


The Last Policeman (Ben H Winters) is technically SF, set in a near future in which Earth is about to get plastered with a 6km asteroid, but the actual story is modern crime, albeit in a setting of social breakdown. Allegedly there are two sequels to follow, so there may be more SFnal elements later, but I was not enthused enough that I seem likely to keep reading.


In an unexpected fit of foresightedness, I bought cool beds for the cats before it gets hot, because when it is hot, they will be out of stock.

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26 March 2013 - Tuesday

So many customers. But also, training from Engineering that makes a lot of things much clearer.


Apparently what I did wrong on the problem set was be a dumbass.


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25 March 2013 - Monday

Cow Orker D has returned! His vacation report: Sri Lanka is hot.

I'd like to say it's Outlook's fault that I failed at meeting today, but really it's my own fault for not checking. (Also for using Outlook to begin with).

O the embarrassment. All die.


The 1930s in the Soviet Union weren't all mysterious disappearances and unending queues, just mostly. Nevertheless, people continued living, and found ways around the broken official social structures. I know this, because I have read Everyday Stalinism (Sheila Fitzpatrick).

It's all about the blat.


I didn't suck so hard at the problem set that they have to retire the word "suck" from overuse, but I did suck. I need to watch the tutorial video to see why I suck, or at least how.


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24 March 2013 - Sunday

I managed to mostly escape work again! You'd think I wasn't on call or something!


Earl wimped out on gaming due to being deathly ill or some feeble excuse like that, but Dave had a copy of MHRPG to share around in addition to my virtual copy, so we were able to make characters and plan the shape of our doom. (Adam was also not present due to work, but I had not entrusted him with any important materials.)

The campaign is still set in the world we Microscope'd up, with dwarf lords and Atlantis and the S-Prize. The costumed lunatics we have come up with are:

  • Legion (Daniel Steele): building contractor and duplicator who has formed a team to go for S-Prizes since honest labor isn't very rewarding in the current economic climate.
  • Muninn (Michael Steele): Daniel's brother, a former telepathic supervillain who stared too long into the abyss of the human soul, and villainy wasn't paying that well, so he's reformed.
  • Jade (Janine something): Daniel's admin assistant, who turned out to be a brick with minor sorcerous powers. She has green hair not because she's cool, but because she's a spy for the Neanderthals of Atlantis.
  • Paraselene (Master Smith Lunapara): a renegade dwarf princess with Sumatran battle armor, who needs a backstory.

No idea if Earl and Adam will actually want to join us, but we hope they will. Also, Rachel is threatening to invite one of her ex-cow-orkers to join us.


I think I did the problem set on ∃ and ∀ correctly. I did also finally prove that √2 is irrational, using prime factors (if a number is a perfect square, it's the product of perfect squares, but that means no other perfect square can be exactly twice the first one, since 2 is not a perfect square). Someone solved it on the forums the day of the lecture, but oh well. That person probably does not have fuzzy cats to help!

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23 March 2013 - Saturday

Work tried to make me be useful, but I resisted by being useless!


We did not do anything super-exciting for my birthday, but Ayse made risotto (so much stirring!) and Ken cooked many vegetables so I became super-round and still had leftovers to take home.


  • Nodame Cantabile III 8: Don't lose hope, Nodame!
  • Cross Game 1-2: So far, pretty much the same as the manga, but it's still in set-up.
  • Hanasaku Iroha 14: See, Ohana, it could be worse.
  • Ano Hana 10-11 (end): That was a pretty positive ending, despite being full of tears.

I let Marith drive me to the train station, even though short trips are the worst. Wum.


Twelve paws!

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22 March 2013 - Friday

It's like Monday and Friday combined!

Next week, the triumphant return of Cow Orker D. (But would escape be even more triumphant?)


This week's lecture is on ∃ and ∀. I have never yet remembered how those symbols work beyond the end of the lecture, but 479th time lucky?

The bonus assignment is to prove that √2 is irrational. I wonder if I and my tiny brain can do this?


Earl stopped by to borrow D&D stuff for his new cool gamers (who could not swallow Dogs in the Vineyard). I foisted off MHRPG on him, so he can be mentally prepared for Sunday, but he was nevertheless properly appreciative of my splendid cats.

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21 March 2013 - Thursday

Time to make aging rolls!


Having the day off from work, I went to visit Monkeycat Towers, which mostly involved painting watercolors with Ja Baby. I think her mom appreciated having someone else occupy the frustrated, gimpy, toddler, anyway.

I delivered Dave's copy of MHRPG, which he will doubtless use for evil.


Orbus (Neal Asher) is a direct sequel to Voyage of the Sable Keech. It features many horrible bug monsters with boosted Int that does not necessarily make them less appalling, but things seem to be looking up by the end.


The cats are indoor-only, so their ability to bring me presents is limited. I am probably okay with this.

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20 March 2013 - Wednesday

I wanted to take tomorrow and Friday off, but apparently the team cannot survive without me for two consecutive days, so I only get one day off. Oh well. At least paper copies of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying have arrived before I left.


Silence (Michelle Sagara) is like the shoujo subspecies of urban fantasy. There is physical danger and some amount of derring-do, but the heroine's struggles are primarily emotional and interpersonal. That by no means makes them less gruelling!

Probably not recommended for parents of toddlers.


The comics industry has not suddenly started producing huge quantities of stuff I know I want to read. This is much cheaper than the alternative, yet I cannot help feeling disappointed.


Twelve paws!

Happy happy Tripday observed! by marith (Sat Mar 23 14:24:16 2013)

Even if I was too lame to post it on Thursday, you are still my favorite Trip for yet another year, and all the years to come!

Comics Worth Reading by Carl (Tue Apr 2 00:00:21 2013)

The first volume of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye (My Life as a Weapon) is out, and good, despite my usual disdain these days for Marvel. Kieron Gillen's Young Loki in the Journey Into Mystery collections is also good, if you like people who are too clever for their own good. And Gillen and McKelvie have reunited to create a third volume of Phonogram, hiding it within the pages of Young Avengers to pretend to be a superhero title rather than a searing examination of magic and identity.

Also, Happy Birthday from the Future.

Re: Comics Worth Reading by Trip (Wed Apr 3 08:33:25 2013)

I already have Young Loki and it is pretty swell. I will look for Hawkeye, and Phonogram when the collection comes out.

Thanks!

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19 March 2013 - Tuesday

Wow, Super-Explodey Customer X did something and didn't explode! They were even cheerful about it!


Twelve paws!

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18 March 2013 - Monday

Not dead yet! Quite. Cow Orker D is still out until next week, though.

The remodeling of the kitchen/foosball arena/break area has been mostly completed, and the space is now quite nice!


The Voyage of the Sable Keech (Neal Asher) takes place on one planet, and is full of zombies, but it's still space opera. Includes giant invertebrate monsters.


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17 March 2013 - Sunday

More SECX, but not too much.


I have flipped through Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game, although I can't say I have actually read it. Their strange dice do seem like they produce potentially-interesting outcomes, but of course they are full of it when they say regular dice can't do that. I am also slightly offended by their charging $5 for the wacky dice app, but a set of dice, even when available separately, will be $15 and only barely enough for one person, so it's not that it's not a bargain.

I think it would be interesting to try it out, but where am I going to find four more adults who have nothing better to do for a few hours?


Other anime has hot springs episodes, Grenadier has a brothel episode.


Bleah, must get up and go to work tomorrow. Well, the cats will comfort me.

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16 March 2013 - Saturday

Super-Exploding Customer X did in fact explode, but we managed to slowly get them stapled back together. (Rather, we got the automatic staplizer running.) I guess these days that counts as quiet.


City of Ruin (Mark Charan Newton) is the sequel to Nights of Villjamur, and has much more in the way of cyclopean works of the ancients (with inevitable doom). I did not discuss the self-deceptive nature of human evil with Ayse and Marith until later, but one of the villains from CoR completely qualifies.


Poor Ja Baby has a quite broken leg! Her cast is spiffy and red, but not conduicive to walking so she has to get carried around a lot and becomes unhappy if she is carried wrongly and her leg gets bumped.

Ta Baby still has the warmest brain ever, even though he spit up all over my shirt.

I still suck at Netrunner.

Yay pirogis with mushroom-sour cream sauce!


  • Nodame Cantabile III 7: Nodame has LEVELED UP!
  • Hanasaku Iroha 12-13: There was a heartwarming family reunion, but I don't think Ohana actually got what she set out for.
  • Ano Hana 9: Should they be a lot more freaked out than they are?
  • Mouretsu Pirates 25-26: The end! It was a little rushed, but suitably triumphant and sensical.

Next week (or whenever): Cross Game!


See, cats? I came back!

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15 March 2013 - Friday

It's Friday, but on-call weekends are never quiet any more. :(


Read and Understand Dungeon World (Eon Fontes-May, Sean M Dunstan) is a long essay (60 pages, though not high-density) about how to use the awesome concepts in Dungeon World in actual play. It is thus redundant with the rules if you are a gaming genius (rather than a gaming Wile E Coyote), but I think it helped me a little.


Midnight Blue-Light Special is the second in Seanan McGuire's "InCryptids" series, and the looming doom from the first book is already crashing down. Apparently the main character got all her points from the disad of her family background.

Istas is still the best.


Twelve adorable paws!

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14 March 2013 - Thursday

Boss G3 is not technical and not even very clear, so I'm not exactly sure what he wants in this report mandated by his boss. I guess I'll put some information together and see if it satisfies him.


The plot twist in the second episode of Tin Man is not new to the genre, but it's definitely a twist.


Opaque and yet adorable!

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13 March 2013 - Wednesday

I wonder if we'll get too sick of supporting Big Customer X before they get too sick of using our system outside its designed role?


Hilldiggers (Neal Asher) is pretty straight-forward space opera in which most of the trouble is caused by the default condition of most intelligences, human-derived or otherwise, being rat-bastardy.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Worm.


I both finished watching the Monday lecture and watched all of the Wednesday lecture (equivalence). I think I can do the assignment for 4, but have not actually done so, or looked at the problem set. (As previously established, I am too dumb to get anywhere with the problem sets anyway.)


Twelve opaque paws! (Although really the opaque tails are more problematic.)

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12 March 2013 - Tuesday

After recovering morale, I tried to watch the first lecture for this week, but work interrupted. It wasn't very much work, but it effectively filled up the remainder of the minutes before bedtime.


Library books: net +0.

Paws: 12.

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11 March 2013 - Monday

The customers are back. So many customers.


The Impossible Cube (Steven Harper) has not just mad scientists, but Cossack mad scientists. This goes about as well as you might expect. Also, even sympathetic characters are not immune to progressive SAN loss.


I finally got around to getting the out-of-print volume 3 of Atomic Robo (Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Ronda Pattison, Jeff Powell) from Amazon. It has HP Lovecraft and Carl Sagan, and a monster from beyond time that is actually from beyond time. Also, lightning guns.


I guess those weren't trick questions after all. :(


Twelve paws of fliffiness!

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10 March 2013 - Sunday

No Palo Alto gaming, because Dave and I are not in Palo Alto! We are still in Roseville!

Ayse and I did homework, although we had to chase off about three people per minute for the entire period. It was pretty easy, so surely the problem set will not be difficult.

On the way back, I rode with Ayse and Ta Baby, cruelly abandoning Dave and Ken to Ja Baby's demands. We discussed many and diverse topics, including brainology, human perfidy, and oceans.


Twelve paws did just fine in my absence. They didn't even come close to running out of food or water.


The problem set seemed very easy. I must be making some horrible mistake.


Someone somewhere once said the miniseries Tin Man was interesting, so I put it somewhere near the end of my Netflix queue and then Netflix randomly sent the first disc to me as an apology for taking more than a single day to send me the disc that was actually at the front of my queue.

It is okay, but not great, fanfic in the "a sufficiently blurry tale of what actually happened could look like what was reported in the original material" vein. I think make the main character a princess was a mistake, but tropes meh blargh.

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9 March 2013 - Saturday

Ja Baby was so full of "When we will get to KateJoshHouse? I want to be at KateJoshHouse right now!" that her dad became quite stressed, but Dave was chill. (Ayse cleverly took the other car with Ta Baby, who slept and slept so she had time to think without being interrupted by other humans, which does not happen very much in her daily life.)


At one gaming store, I picked up Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game, and when we finally made it to the other (despite the best efforts of the navicomp), Cthulhu Fluxx. Because this has always been the tentacles of Fluxx.


Ken ran pick-up Dungeon World, which I'm not sure was in accord with the developer's vision, but phosphorescent cultists were defeated and the town was saved, and Al bought his own copy.

Gaming with kids is like playing with kids more than it is like gaming. But maybe only people without kids think that.


For dinner, we went to the restaurant where Ja Baby can get both all the shrimp she can eat, and strawberry ice cream to fill in the cracks. She was very pleased.


Important words when managers call on the weekend: "I am not near a computer and cannot do anything to help you." (Not strictly true, but the implied condition was that the computer have the VPN software to connect to TD stuff, which none of the ones near me did.)


Cthulhu Fluxx reduced our SAN by having rules that were unclear in some respects, and an inadequate FAQ. However, the monsters did not win, and neither did Dave.


Marith now lives far away from the kitties, so I cannot get her to check whether they still have paws, but I am sure they are fine.

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8 March 2013 - Friday

Spent all day working on a problem that turned out to not be anything like what we originally thought, and quite possibly the customer's fault to begin with, and then another cascading series of problems that is the fault of Sales for telling the customer that it would be just fine to use our finely-crafted wrench to pound nails.


I finished watching The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye. The final episodes weren't necessarily plot-wise connected to most of what happened during the series, but they were definitely thematically connected, so I am okay with that ending.


Twelve paws that will totally be okay while I am gone! Right?

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7 March 2013 - Thursday

Even more customers, with even hotter fires. Cow Orker Beast is allegedly out today, but had to answer lots of email to coordinate getting people involved in fixing his customer.

I left work, but the work did not leave me, so I still did not get to watch the second lecture of the course I am taking in a show of solidarity with Ayse. I did successfully print out the assignments to date so we can do them in Roseville.


The bibliography for Red Plenty made Planning Problems in the USSR (Michael Ellman) sound interesting, but it is way too hard-core for me. I could possibly read it if I had Wikipedia to hand, but I mostly read on the train and don't like using the 3G data link if it can be avoided. Anyway, this book is from the early 70s so who knows how much of that stuff is in Wikipedia anyway?

Executive summary: the optimal planning faction in the USSR had some good ideas but also some very wrong-headed ones. The USSR could probably have gotten a working economy, but only if they changed their approach, which didn't seem very likely in 1973 (and which we know subsequently did not come to pass).

I am not smarter.


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6 March 2013 - Wednesday

Still way too many customers.


Instead of getting comics, I did laundry. Marmalade was down with this.


The Dungeon Alphabet: Expanded Third Printing (Michael Curtis) is pretty much what it says on the tin: ideas for dungeon features presented in alphabetical order, in the form of tables for random generation. The table entries are pretty old school: rotating rooms to confuse players mapping on graph paper, inexplicably powerful magic, bizarrely complicated traps. (Unsurprisingly, the back of the file has an ad for Dungeon Crawl Classics.) However, I might be able to cannibalize it for Dungeon World ideas.

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5 March 2013 - Tuesday

Too many customers, not enough brains. Especially in Korea, it sounds like.


Battle Angel Alita: Last Order (Yukito Kishiro) seems to be approaching the end as of volume 17. Alita just got a new quest, but although it is momentous, it is probably not lengthy.


Star Wars: Scoundrels (Timothy Zahn) is a heist story set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, when Han has already managed to lose all the reward money he loaded into his ship after the Death Star Incident. It could just as well be called Solo's Eleven. Zahn is a perfectly good writer, but he never describes characters, which bugs me, and the Star Wars universe is kind of flavorless (inevitable in a corporate franchise), so overall the book is unexceptional.

Also, I can think of several ways to deal with the alien superpower that causes problems, which no one in the book even considered.


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4 March 2013 - Monday

Cow Orker D is apparently being annoyed pretty severely in Seoul, but so far it's still making him stronger. (Which reminds me of the best going-away speech ever, from my boss at one Google gig: "You tried to destroy me, but you only made me more powerful.")


From an unspecified SF writer being interviewed in a dream about where he gets story ideas: When an author puts something in the story so that normal life can go on despite the SFnal elements, think about what the world would be like if it wasn't there. (It seemed much more profound when I was asleep, but I think it's still valid.)

Of course, a blatantly secondary-world setting doesn't get you the fat fat lewts from teenagers who dream of being swept away and murdered adored by vampires.


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3 March 2013 - Sunday

I met Ja Baby and Ken at Dana Street and we went to a bookstore and a farmer's market and then to a gaming store. They had a reasonable selection of indie or at least small press games, but although I thought about buying some of them, paper just takes up so much space! I guess I'll see if RPGNow or IPR has them, and then complain about local gaming stores going out of business.


I was lucky enough to win Dominion once, but in the second game Dave got his hand down to four Golds and enough Adventurers to always draw them all, and steamrollered us beneath his Colonies.


I do not think you would like this salsa, cats!

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2 March 2013 - Saturday

No brunch today, because there is a party at Ja Baby's preschool. All the people there seem very nice, and the little kids hardly melted down at all.


  • Hanasaku Iroha 11: Ohana is fighting completely the wrong battle. It would be nice if she failed because of it, but the genre requires that she be rewarded for being willing to fight at all.
  • Anohana 8: Menma seems to be getting strong. I think in the last episode she'll eat them all.
  • Mouretsu Pirates 24: So much for the enemy not knowing what they're planning...
  • Nodame Cantabile III 6: Wow, he gave up a chance to be conducted by his old master for her!

Marith went splat so we stopped there and I made it home at an only slightly unreasonable hour.


I finished rereading Black Lagoon (Rei Hiroe) through the end of the second killer maid story arc, which I think is all there is so far. (The mangaka has apparently been hinting about picking the series back up again, though.) That's a pretty high body count, although most of them probably deserved it. On the other hand, Shenhua, Sawyer, and Lotto definitely deserve to be exploded, but I'm rooting for them because I find them amusing.


Twelve paws that really should go to the vet for a checkup soon!

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1 March 2013 - Friday

Cow Orker D gets to fly to Seoul with two days' notice to cover for another department's incompetence! Wheee!

At least he got the company to agree to send him back via his ancestral homeland, so he can see his ancestors.


The Doomsday Vault (Steven Harper) is straightforward steampunk adventure with zombies, air pirates, and musically-inclined masterminds.


Twelve paws!

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