Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 June 2013 - Sunday

People said they liked my adventure, even though I thought it was way too simple and short. I guess Terror Turkeys are a viable substitute for a definitive outcome.

Perhaps someone else will run next session, but I should prepare for the PCs to follow up on this excitement, just in case.

Because the adventure was short, there was lots of socializing and not much gaming, but that is okay. Ish.


In volume 3 of Knights of Sidonia (Tsutomu Nihei), we get to find out quite a bit more about what is going on, although in many cases it only raises more questions. (Most of those questions are, "WTF?".) Also, a little more romantic comedy, which makes me crack up extra because the context is so not where you would expect to see it.


Twelve paws!

bawk bawk by Jeremy (Mon Jul 1 19:12:44 2013)

B'CAWWWW!

Character development by Trip (Tue Jul 2 08:41:53 2013)

It was actually Benoit who was eaten by the spell, and the Terror Turkey who is hanging around with the PCs, right?

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29 June 2013 - Saturday

Finally, after rereading 37 volumes, I read volume 38 of Negima! (Ken Akamatsu)! It was actually pretty touching, and the Big Secret was never explicitly revealed. (I have a thought for finding it out, but I don't know if it will actually work, and I would have to go back through the volume in some detail.)

I wonder what Akamatsu will do next? And how many volumes will it be?


Not quite done with the map, but close. I just need hills and labels, and maybe farmland.


Only three months late, I was available to be taken to The Table in Willow Glen for my birthday. The food was tasty, but the acoustics were trendy, which is to say, terrible.

Earl and Cat are not dead yet, although apparently Earl's employer is doing its best. I am pretty sure Earl still thinks I am an idiot.


No anime, only the search for the lost art of conversation.


The Sacred Blacksmith (Isao Miura, Kotaro Yamada) has a somewhat detailed afterword on katana-smithing, but is otherwise not that great.

Gratuitous fanservice is gratuitous.


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28 June 2013 - Friday

Yay Friday! Yay I'm not on call! But Smart Cow Orker D is on call, and is also sick, which is not ideal. Hopefully he will get better and not need me to cover for him.


Like the preceding books in the series, Alien in the Family (Gini Koch) is quite goofy. However, I really can't approve of torture, even if it's not described, even if the person being tortured is Bad. I think this makes me unAmerican.


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27 June 2013 - Thursday

Useless Cow Orker X just tried to take credit to the customer for something that Smart Cow Orker D and I did while we were on a call with the customer. So, not only slimy, but inept. I think I should probably polish up my resume and send it to Ambar for A9.


The Red Plague Affair (Lilith Saintcrow) is the sequel to The Iron Wyrm Affair, with more steampunk and magic action and Holmesian deduction. Also, doom and more doom. It seemed to have a lot less plot, though.


You will obey me, Pixelmator! You cannot resist forever!


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26 June 2013 - Wednesday

Bah, customers.


I once again did nothing at Earthdawn, because I suck and my character is lame, but at least I had a big plate of tacos!


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25 June 2013 - Tuesday

Cow Orker M is back, although zombified from airline screwups on the way home.

Instead of doing anything useful with my evening, I did a Webex with a customer. It was successful, and I think will make the customer happier, but it wasn't like doing my things.


Quintessence (David Walton) is fantasy, but has something of a science-fiction sensibility: when presented with strange but somewhat consistent phenomena, the characters immediately begin trying to understand them and use them to their advantage. Also, the phenomena are pretty cool.


Hm, I could get a new Mac Mini with 2.6GHz quad-core CPU and 16GB RAM for $1200. But my existing one still works...

I could get a 27" monitor with all kinds of Apple shininess for it, but I'm pretty sure Marmalade could obstruct it. He has a tail, you know.

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24 June 2013 - Monday

Apparently the same process takes fifteen times longer when Cow Orker R runs it than when I run it. I wish I could claim it's because I'm fifteen times smarter, but that's probably not why it happens.


New Cow Orker V has finally joined, like a year and a half after being first interviewed. Now we can start the process of making him useful. Maybe.


My poor computer only has 4GB of memory, which is not enough for both Firefox with eight million tabs and a graphics program, so trying to get anything done while also being available on Gmail chat means swapping and swapping and swapping.


Orange cat, you are not on the warm laundry! Who are you, and what have you done with the real Marmalade? Oh, but you are very opaque, so maybe it's just that the clouds make it too warm for laundrylounging.

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23 June 2013 - Sunday

Only one customer bothered me today, and it was a total RTFM. However, Cow Orker R's upgrade from yesterday is still going on. It's taking like ten times as long as mine did.


Instead of doing any of the many other things I should be doing, I downloaded a cheap graphics program and starting trying to colorize the Immortal Empire map. My first thought was to make it black and white (1 bit) and then swap black for other color X within defined areas. However, hand-drawn pencil is too uneven for that — there are parts that should be white that are smudged to a darker shade than parts that should be black. I ended up just putting the scanned map on the bottom layer and tracing over it. Most of the simple parts are done now, leaving the complicated parts for weeknights when I have no brain.


Casino Infernale (Simon R Green) is nominally in the Shaman Bond series, but has crossovers with both Nightside and Carnacki Institute. Since they are all equally Greentastic, this works just fine.


I'm not sure why, but I have disc 1 of Trinity Blood, which seems to involve alien vampires and cyberenhanced priests on airships.


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22 June 2013 - Saturday

The scheduled upgrade took pretty much an entire work day, although for a lot of it I just had to check in every few minutes to make sure it wasn't on fire. Still, I couldn't really do anything else with that part of my life, so I'm counting it as time spent doing on-call stuff (for all the good it does).

Cow Orker R was doing the same thing to another cluster, but his, for no visible reason, was still going throughout the day. He's done this many times, so I wouldn't expect him to have made an obvious mistake, but I don't know why else it would be doing that, since the clusters are almost identical.


  • Steins;Gate 11-12: Evil conspiracy is evil. You can tell, because the vinyl is black.
  • Cross Game 11-12: And now, the baseball ninja will come for them. But Aoba might get to keep playing.
  • Persona4 9: Of course she says that's not her. They all say that!

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21 June 2013 - Friday

Yay Friday! Boo on call! Double boo scheduled upgrades!


Apparently this is Reading Week.

Necessary Ill (Deb Taber) is pre-apocalyptic, but pretty doomed and with mutants. Sadly, it is also with pretty bad science, although that doesn't come up much since the focus is on the emotional and philosophical issues around population reduction by engineered plagues spread by asexual mutants.

The setting of Great North Road (Peter F Hamilton) has some similarities to the future history of Pandora's Planet, The Dreaming Void, etc, but it's not the same. It is, however, very Hamiltonian, with mysteries and potential aliens and corruption and interstellar gateways.


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20 June 2013 - Thursday

Nothing exciting at work.


New Celebrations: The Adventures of Anthony Villiers is an omnibus reprint of three novels from the late '60s by Alexei Panshin: Star Well, The Thurb Revolution, and Masque World. They are a little Vancian, although the customs are not as strange, and a little like the Retief books, although not as overtly humorous. Maybe they qualify as comedy of manners. Anyway, I enjoyed them, although they are very much what they are and not anything action-oriented.


"Hello, Orange Friend! You are orange, and you are my friend, so you are Orange Friend. That is how adjectives work. Adjectives are one of my many Thumb Powers."

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19 June 2013 - Wednesday

Fortunately, the people whose opinion I respect and who are at work this week were okay with my leaving after only eight hours to zoom to San Jose.


It's summer, which means Earthdawn season has started!

Anyone remember how to play this game?


A lot of books I had started earlier came to an end today.

A Red Sun Also Rises (Mark Hodder) is planetary romance, Victorian, of the "crazy aliens" subsubgenre rather than the "green princesses" one. The cover blurb talks about philosophy of good and evil blah blah, but although the main character, as a failed priest, sometimes muses on good and evil, there isn't anything really significant there. Biology isn't good or evil, it just is.

Abbadon's Gate (James S A Corey) is the third book in the "Expanse" series. Since we find out something of what the alien maguffin is about, it could be the last book, but there is plenty of room for more. Maybe even more of the awesome middle-aged Methodist minister.

Don't Read This Book (ed Chuck Wendig) is a collection of short stories based on Don't Rest Your Head, including one by Internationally Acclaimed Author C E Murphy, and one by Harry Connolly. Many of the stories were well-written, but they didn't seem to be quite my subgenre, which may explain why I was so rubbish at running DRYH.

Brandon Sanderson is all about the strange but thoroughly worked out magic systems, and The Rithmatist is no exception. It is nominally a YA book, but there is some darn creepy stuff in there. Awesome creepy stuff, which cries out for a sequel in which even more people are eaten alive by chalk drawings.


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18 June 2013 - Tuesday

Cow Orker M is still out. We are doing okay without him, but it's not the same.


Finale of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha! It is probably not a spoiler to mention that the good guys win. Also, hugs.


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17 June 2013 - Monday

Monday already? But it seems like I haven't spent a single day at home without socializing since Friday!


Sharp (Alex Hughes) is the sequel to Clean, about a telepath who works for the police after getting kicked out of the Global Psionic Conspiracy for being a junkie. He's kind of a jerk to his old friends in the Conspiracy, but that may be because he spends a lot of time desperately trying to find strings to pull to salvage doomed situations.


I have been defective in providing string for Marmalade! This must be remedied at once!

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16 June 2013 - Sunday

Today, we did not have to drive back from Roseville to game, but we also did not have brunch.

When I got there, the argument over whether men's greater upper body strength leads inevitably to the patriarchy, with the expected sides. Jeremy proposed mechanisms for why this would happen, so his argument wasn't empty; I just think it was wrong. We finally established that in this setting, magic is of economic importance and women are much more likely to be mages than men, which I think is as wrong an argument as the ones it was countering, but allowed us to move past the issue for the moment.

I stalled for time (both because it seemed mean to game too much when Adam wasn't there and because my adventure is lame) by passing around a blank sheet of paper and making people draw a map of the Empire. Now we know where to find giant iguanas, diabolic volcanoes, bunyips, salt whirlwinds, and other important features. We need to generate a bunch of fake French, German, Portuguese, Turkish, Armenian, and Australian names, though. Random Name Algorithm to the rescue! Later.

Now, the PCs have to help the spy who is dying of magical assault so they can get her to tell them where the Queen-select's message has gotten to.


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15 June 2013 - Saturday

I went to brunch after all, instead of staying home and working on an adventure. I didn't go very competently, but eventually I made it there and we had foods. We tried to have Dominion, but were foiled. Then, there was another shopping phase, and a pasta-with-shortribs phase, and more Dominion, which must have been successful, because I won. (Ken probably deserved to win with his clever Rats+Death Carts strategy, but he never managed to draw a hand that had some of both.)


  • Persona4 7-8: The infamous Kanji episode! I like Kanji.
  • Hanasaku Iroha 24: Only two episodes left to fest it up and save the inn!
  • Steins;Gate 10: I guess the vegetables did have some effect after all!

Tunnel Out of Death (Jamil Nasir) is the sort of vaguely spiritual SF that I normally don't like, but it didn't bother me as much as usual, possibly because it was sufficiently concrete in its fuzzy existentialness. Still, meh.


See, cats, I came back!

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14 June 2013 - Friday

Yay! It's Friday!


Portal (Eric Flint, Ryk E Spoor) is also the conclusion to a short series, but this one is fairly hard SF and only three volumes of skullduggery and interplanetary adventure on the trail of the 65Ma-old alien visitors. There is a conclusion!


Ayse wants me to have out-of-phase brunch in San Jose instead of hiding under a rock with my kitties. Why do people move so inconveniently?

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13 June 2013 - Thursday

Boss G3 is back, but not visibly improved.


The Night of the Swarm (Robert V S Redick) is the conclusion to the "Chathrand Quartet", a reasonably entertaining fantasy epic with sailing and magic and huge doom. More doom than that, even. Also talking animals (which are part of the doom), a mage in the form of a mustelid, and love which may or may not be true. Did we mention the sailing?


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12 June 2013 - Wednesday

I keep meaning to do stuff in the evening, but I am too stupid, so I oppress the cats instead.

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11 June 2013 - Tuesday

Boss G3 is still out. This is not impeding our work visibly.


Library, why do you give me so many books?

What do you mean, I asked for them? What kind of excuse is that?

Hmph.


I hung out on Logrus with Ayse's friend Avalon, who is super-nice and doesn't have enough people to hang out with. Marmalade helped by being opaque.

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10 June 2013 - Monday

It's like Monday, only I spent the weekend not sleeping very well because I was in a distant place which is not my lair. Also, customers.


Even Aspen thinks a day with gooshyfood is better than one without.

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9 June 2013 - Sunday

Because Ken is a prince among vertebrates, he drove Dave and me (and Ja Baby) back to Palo Alto in time for brunch and gaming. (Ta Baby and Ayse followed later, after Ta Baby's morning nap.)


No one actually had anything prepared Immortal Empire, but I was able to entertain people for a while by making them put things onto blank city and palace maps. Then we searched for the lost art of conversation. Also, there may have been cookies.


Hello, cats! You are not dead! I am not dead either! Isn't this better than the alternatives? (Quiet, Aspen!)

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8 June 2013 - Saturday

Ken finally got people to play Lords of Waterdeep with him, which I think made him happy even though he didn't win.

We almost played a little Dungeon World but then people had to go swimming. I got slightly sunburned, which didn't happen last year. I guess my melanin is older and more feeble now.

In the evening, I went with some of our hosts to see Much Ado About Nothing performed by TNT. (Others remained behind to get small children to sleep, which turned out to be so time-consuming they never got around to joining us.) It was about what you expect from community theater, with bonus silly intermissions and sonnets between scenes.


The cats are totally fine, right?

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7 June 2013 - Friday

Yay! No work today!


Ayse had a clever plan to zoom away in the early afternoon and beat the traffic, but this was foiled by Ja Baby exploding with three-year-oldness. For a while it looked like we might not go, then we finally left in mid-afternoon just as the traffic was starting up, then it looked like Ayse might expire of annoyance at Ja Baby who was being very difficult, but finally we made it to Roseville alive!

There was Chinese food.


Later, Ken and Dave arrived separately. Marith is too flat to join us, but this is no use to me because now she lives in San Jose and cannot reasonably look in on my cats!

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6 June 2013 - Thursday

It's Thursday, but it's like Friday because I am taking tomorrow off! Wheee!


My reread of Negima! is halfway done (19/38) and now starting the plot arc that will take the entire rest of the series.


Marmalade did not seem super-interested in the warm laundry. I guess it is no longer the appropriate season.

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5 June 2013 - Wednesday

The three-ring circus from last week is still going strong. Every manager and every sales person who thinks they have a stake in it must have their say.


Alien Tango (Gini Koch) is very much like Touched by an Alien.


I do not have enough brains to work on Empire World. But I can sometimes pet cats.

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4 June 2013 - Tuesday

Tuesday is not that great either.


Touched by an Alien (Gini Koch) is extremely goofy, almost completely fails to subvert the gender binary, and is generally lacking in literary merit, but it doesn't take itself seriously and the protagonist saves the day by figuring out things people don't want her to.


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3 June 2013 - Monday

Nobody likes Monday.


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2 June 2013 - Sunday

Today, the call came at 4:15. This was annoying, but the great tragedy is that it disrupted my morning routine so much that I never gave the cats gooshyfood.

The automation I wrote yesterday is not anywhere near complete, but what there is, worked and was useful. Therefore, we probably will not need to perform this particular task ever again.

Otherwise, I was pretty useless today. I meant to work on Empire World, but mostly played Ascension and went blblblblbl.

Blblblblblbl.


Twelve paws do not go blblblblbl! They go miau miau miau!

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1 June 2013 - Saturday

6:30 is after I usually get up, but I was trying to sleep in because it's Saturday! But no, the customer had to call about their problem so I had to call someone from Engineering (who probably didn't appreciate it any more than I did) and then try to do all the necessary investigation before the customer lost patience. I had some trouble with the VPN so I didn't get my part done in time, although I think it was not the more important part. Still, I spent a few hours trying to automate the process for tomorrow, with slight success.


We have run out of Sherlock, but have not yet decided what else to watch that Ken will put up with.

  • Cross Game 9-10: Sadly, the Evil Coach will probably not actually have a stroke and die from his handpicked minions failing him.
  • Persona4 6: I've heard about this guy. This should be good.
  • Hanasaku Iroha 22-23: Awwww! But there are still plotlines left to resolve before the end!
  • Steins;Gate 9: I'm pretty sure these operations are irreversible.

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