Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 August 2014 - Sunday

Still in Roseville! (Not likely to be a Concrete Blonde song anytime soon.)

No more Ptolus today, but we watched Frozen, bought and played 7 Wonders, and introduced Avalon to Al and Sherilyn via FaceTime. See, my girlfriend in Canada really exists!

I picked up the 5th edition PHB, because Earl was threatening to run it. It seems okay, although I have only skimmed it. Not nearly as inspiring as 13th Age, though.

Of course I exist! =) by Avalon (Wed Sep 10 17:56:21 2014)

I think therefore I am! xoxoxo

Of course you exist! by Trip (Thu Sep 11 21:41:12 2014)

Although it might be, "I FaceTime, therefore I am"!

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30 August 2014 - Saturday

This time I rode up to Roseville with Ken and Ta Baby, instead of Ken and Dave and Jus. That is just about the happiest and most chill baby ever!

Roseville is still there, although soon it will be less one Robert, who is going off to college in a couple of weeks. Yike.

Julia swam and swam and then tried to have a sleepover with Elyssa, which unsurprisingly ended in tears.

I missed the last session of Ptolus, but people were able to bring me up to speed pretty quickly: "We have to defeat the giant hydra chaosbot of death and get the last box from the secret chamber beneath the defunct and haunted brothel of prophecy." Okay, no problem, except for the bit where a hydra could eat us all for lunch, simultaneously.

Nevertheless, the attempt had to be made, so we racked our spells and sallied forth. Sure enough, the hydra savaged everyone brutally despite Karl summoning the dead to distract it, and repaired the damage Raul did with far-reaching lightning. However, as people were already fleeing back through the water-filled tunnel (almost probably too small for the hydra to squeeze through), both Johann and James hit it with their big attacks and we discovered that it had exchanged most of its actual hit points for regen that only works when it's above 0. Yay!

Then Raul almost died when it blew up while he was trying to take it apart. Chaositech: putting the "danger" in "dangerously unstable".

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29 August 2014 - Friday

Yay! Friday is here! And I'm not on call!

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28 August 2014 - Thursday

Come on, Friday! You can make it!

Lock In (John Scalzi) is a police procedural, set in a moderate-future world where a plague that causes complete paralysis has swept through the population, meaning a fairly large number of people have heads full of electronics to let them teleoperate humanoid drones to have some semblence of a life. Scalzi is not a big fan of headware, on security grounds (insert joke about Windows users here), so this goes about as well as one might expect.

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27 August 2014 - Wednesday

Today was all meetings, all the time.

Buck Rogers: Grievous Angels (Howard Chaykin) is an unamazing version of the story, but I do like Buck Rogers as a Wobblie.

How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back (Diana Rowland): zombie road trip! And then, the most tragic final scene I have seen in quite some time.

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26 August 2014 - Tuesday

Not dead yet!

Apparently my existence on the Internet is now redundant.

Broken Souls (Stephen Blackmoore) is the sequel to Dead Things, in which the necromancer with the tragic past and bloodied hands continues to make and then piss off friends, enemies, and dead gods.

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse (Diana Rowland) is the third in the series, in which the eponymous zombie goes for her GED, meets ethical medical researchers, and eats brains.

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25 August 2014 - Monday

Last week was short jam, next week is jam, but this week is no jam.

Bryan Lee O'Malley's new comic, Seconds is not set in a video game, so probably will not be the same sort of runaway hit that Scott Pilgrim was. But it is pretty good on its own merits, if you can put up with humans being foolish and greedy like in all the best fairy tales.

The Ministry Protocol (ed Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris, TS Tate) is a collection of short stories by various authors set in the world of Ballantine and Morris's "Ministry of Peculiar Occurances" series. In other words, authorized fanfic, although filtered for a slightly better quality curve than the Internets.

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24 August 2014 - Sunday

Dave threatened to finish off the Immortal Empire campaign, but we were so slow at remembering how to play this game after like six weeks, and so prone to talking instead of playing, that we only got through about two of the four weeks until Matri-nation Day. Hyacinthe is working on finding an antidote to the mysterious new truffid pheromone, everyone is getting cultist tattoos, and the bunyip volcano shaman says she will definitely give the Eye of Fire back before Eloise needs it to be married/crowned.

What will we play if Immortal Empire does end? Earl made noises about running D&D 5th Edition but I don't know if he will still want to by the time we finish. I suppose we could make Ken die of envy by playing 13th Age, but I don't know if Miriam (or anyone) would be up for learning a new system.

Unlike Substrata, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 Artworks (UDON Entertainment) is all about the scantily-clad girls. They are cute, though.

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23 August 2014 - Saturday

Today Ken had his birthday party, which involved many board games and also cake and ham and some of his friends from Before Ayse but also his friends from now. It was not a wild and exciting party, but it was a perfectly good party.

The new discovery is 7 Wonders, which scales from 3 to 7 players, only takes about half an hour play, and has many options but is simple to learn once you figure out what all the cryptic icons mean. W00t!

No anime tonight, obviously.

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22 August 2014 - Friday

No work today! Only sloth! Well, and laundry. Lots of laundry, at least by my standards.

While lying in bed, I watched the first few episodes of Aldnoah.Zero. I am all for defeating invulnerable mecha by cleverness, and they did address the point I thought they had neglected for the first invulnerable mecha, so I am tentatively not scornful.

In The Silk Map (Chris Willrich), Bone and Gaunt get into more trouble along the fantasic cognate of the Silk Road as they try to get things back in order after the events of The Scroll of Years, specifically [SPOILER].

Willrich writes in a fairly modern style, but there is more than a hint of the old weird stories in the ancient ruins of prehuman civilizations, hidden worlds, and whatnot.

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21 August 2014 - Thursday

Today is Logical Friday, since I am taking a day off for working at least a full day over the weekend. So there!

Substrata (ed Paul Richards) is the result of telling a whole bunch of videogame artists to draw concept sketches for a hypothetical dark fantasy game. I don't know how they picked the artists or if they gave them more direction, but I like pretty much all the results. Yes, even though for videogame art it is quite low on naked chicks — more sinister landscapes, things made out of trees, and goblinoid critters.

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20 August 2014 - Wednesday

Same customer, different problem. It's only our fault in that we don't provide a set of armored boots with the gun, but we get to spend thirteen hours fixing it anyway. So much for doing any of the non-work-related things I had on the schedule tonight, like taking books back to the library, and Avalon.

Letter 44 vol 1 (Charles Soule, Alberto J Albuquerque, Dan Jackson, Guy Major, Shawn DePasquale) is a little better than movie-grade SF, but not a whole lot.

Nice Dragons Finish Last (Rachel Aaron) is the first in a new series by the author of the "Eli Monpress" books, set in the near future when magic has come back due to a mysterious meteorite. It's not really Shadowrun, since magic is amenable to use in consumer goods, but Detroit is run by a spirit but is totally a cyberpunk city, with a literal underlevel and everything. The main character is a dragon who suffers from the disadvantage of not being a sociopathic assclam and therefore gets along with (some) humans much better than other dragons, which is how he comes to have a hot mage sidekick.

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19 August 2014 - Tuesday


Same customer, same problem, but now we have done the thing so they are back in business.

Tonight we had Caribbean food, because it is Ken-day!

Earthdawn is still delayed due to Jus, but we did eventually get started. My character got her ass completely kicked by a giant bug monster with a zombie hand for a hat, which the rest of the party was able to dispatch with no difficulty. I think I need to stop playing games that involve dice. Or brains. Anyway, the PCs then spent most of the session tasting the sand playing with the zone of mystical blindness and time-distorted mutterings, without getting much of anywhere. We have it on good authority that place is creepy as fuck, though.

After looking through Dragon Girl and Monkey King, I think I do not like Katsuya Terada's art style. Oh well.

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18 August 2014 - Monday

Same customer, same problem. But this problem is now kind of okayish, although it needs more work tomorrow.

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17 August 2014 - Sunday

I was too inept to make it to Jus's dim sum-based celebration of becoming a kindergartener (How can she be in kindergarten?! She was barely able to walk not that long ago!) but Marith saved me with the power of text messaging.

Today, there were no calls. The threatened meeting from yesterday wasn't even mentioned, so I guess it will be dealt with tomorrow during business hours (for someone). When nothing happened all day, I felt safe in going to San Jose in the evening, but not even that got the GTS to call me. Weird, but not unpleasant.

Fading Suns was a huge fail from the PCs' point of view, although they did not all agree on why. I felt bad for having Mazoku horribly betray Yelena, but of course Mazoku only felt bad about getting her stabbed. Becoming not a horrible person is going to be a long character arc, I can tell.

Art class! by Avalon (Wed Aug 20 18:11:24 2014)

And art class signup!!!

Art class? by marithlizard (Wed Aug 20 21:45:49 2014)

What is this class of art? Do tell!

Re: Art class. by Trip (Thu Aug 21 08:58:36 2014)

I signed up to take a course on art on the iPad at Pacific Art League in Palo Alto, on Saturdays from the end of September to the end of November. Now I need to buy a good stylus!

re: Art class by marithlizard (Thu Aug 21 10:33:31 2014)

that sounds cool! I should try again to find a local zendoodle class, hm.

zendoodle by Avalon (Fri Aug 22 15:58:51 2014)

What is zendoodle? It sounds really neat. =) I say art classes for everyone!

re: zendoodle by marithlizard (Tue Aug 26 21:07:31 2014)

Oops I meant zentangle. It is a method for doodling that seems neat and not too hard to learn, and taking a class would be like practicing interaction with other humans! here's some examples:

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16 August 2014 - Saturday

First thing in the morning (okay, not really, but it seemed like it after last night), I got called to help with a different P1 for a different Big Customer. I resolved that with the Big Hammer and got the customer going, but a little later they came back and complained about performance. Naturally, the answer to "why does this operation take such different amounts of time on these identical tables?" was "the tables aren't identical".

The customer from last night threatened to hold a meeting to discuss the shape of our doom, so I couldn't go to anime, but the meeting never actually materialized. Bah!

I watched some more Mythbusters. I think I may be a snob, but it's still enjoyable even if it's not as purely geeky as the first few episodes.

Morningside Fall (Jay Posey) is the sequel to Three. In this one, we learn that both doors in "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" are equally available. Although, sometimes, even what kills you makes you stronger.

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15 August 2014 - Friday

Wait, I'm on call now?! Just because it has been scheduled for months? Bah!

As soon as I got home for date night with Avalon, work called and I had to stay up until 2am debuggering Big Customer X's upgrade. We did back to a mostly working state, at least if you don't count the customer network as my responsibility (which it isn't), but the upgrade will have to be redone after the weekend.

Every steampunk series needs the hot springs America episode, and Dawn's Early Light (Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris) is it for the "Ministry of Peculiar Occurances". At least it does not have only Tesla to represent American mad science.

More 13th Age uniques:

  • "A drow spider-witch stole my heart when I was young and foolish. I've been using this one we got from a living dungeon, but it's really not the same." (See the 13th Age Bestiary for heart-stealers, if you want spoilers.)
  • "I am the only wife of the Orc Lord to get a divorce."
  • "I may look like an elf, but I'm actually the child of a gnomish monk and a prismatic ogre mage." (Chaos mage all the way, baby.)
  • "I am the last of the real drow; all the others are gnomish imposters carrying on a prank even they have forgotten isn't real."
  • "I have been sent from the Overworld to thwart the crimes of the Hag King Yotkka. We have only a hundred years to prepare." (Wizards are most strongly associated with the Overworld, but I guess anyone can take a background.)
  • "I have been sent from the Underworld to prepare the way for the coming of the Mage Savior Yotkka. We have only a hundred years to make ready." (Either cannot or must be in the same game as the previous one.)
  • "I am the only person to have been stepped on by every one of the Koru behemoths." (High Con!)
  • "Once I snuck into the cavern where the drow's most senior excruciators are hosting the Green. As I hid beneath a table, a single drop of her burning blood fell into my mouth." (Sorcerer variant?)
  • "I am the only tiefling to have escaped alive from the Elf Queen's bower."
  • "I am the world's foremost expert on icons from past Ages who no longer exist." (Probably more of a background than a class.)
  • "I have been hanged seven times, but it hasn't stuck even once."
  • "In a past age, the Elf Prince hid the Leviathan's treasure for her. Now the daughters of his line are being born with portions of the map as birthmarks, and I have the central piece."

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14 August 2014 - Thursday

Now, I must do the thing for the customer, first thing in the morning. But it works, mostly, and I recorded it for posterity.

The heroine of Child of a Hidden Sea (A M Dellamonica) deals with being shanghaied into a mysterious other world in a perfectly reasonable way: take samples, sleep with cute locals, try to avoid getting entangled in local politics. Some of these go better than others, but.. new world! How awesome is that? Even if they try to annoy you with their crazy legal system and your brother shows up too.

I hope there are more books, because I think the world could stand to be explored a lot more and also Sophie rocks.

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13 August 2014 - Wednesday

Today, I do not have to do the special thing for the customer. Only regular stuff.

Now that Jus is staying up well into the evening, gaming is much more limited. We meet for Earthdawn at 18:30, but we did not actually start gaming until 20:00. This left enough time for the PCs to arrive at the palisaded fort just outside the giant ruined city and interact with the eccentric information brokers to get player handouts from the fancy boxed set information on where the dwarven prince of certain profitability has gone to get into trouble.

The Janus Affair (Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris) is the sequel to Phoenix Rising. It contains fewer orgies and killer robots, but more suffragists and airships. Also, the UST goes zap.

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12 August 2014 - Tuesday

I had to do the thing for the customer as soon as I got to work, but it was actually not too traumatic. Well, casualties were limited. Within expectations. Okay, within a reasonable margin of error. (Reasonable for cosmologists, anyway!)

Whispered Words vol 1 (Takeshi Ikeda) is slice-of-yuri life, about two best friends, one of whom is secretly in love with the other, but not the super-femmey type her friend always goes for, so there is Feelings. But, hardly anyone's life is actually ruined or shortened because of the Feelings.

The poor schmoes in The Pilgrims (Will Elliott) are thrust into a bizarre world full of inexplicable magic, unnatural creatures, moral quandries, and doooooom. (It really is a very strange world.)

Phoenix Rising (Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris): "He's a stodgy upper-class British librarian archivist. She's a New Zealander with a reinforced corset and vast tracts of dynamite. They fight crime... STEAM CRIME!" There is also UST.

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11 August 2014 - Monday

Yuck, Monday.

The Mapmaker's War (Ronlyn Domingue) is told in reflexive second person (the protagonist telling her younger self what that younger self did), which I don't think I have seen done before. Otherwise, it is more or less a fairytale, with the evil people who have kings (well, okay...) and the good people who have telepathic shrinks (probably helpful, yes) and the doom that ensues. Also, children.

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10 August 2014 - Sunday

After the customer not being reachable for most of the day, we finally got the go-ahead and permission to do things the easy way. Wheeeee.

Three (Jay Posey) is both post-cyberpunk and post-zombie-apocalypse. With a little reskinning, it could possibly be run in Apocalypse World.

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9 August 2014 - Saturday

Everyone else is in Roseville having fun. I am at home, getting the thing I was supposed to do today postponed until tomorrow. If it gets pushed into next week, so that I actually had nothing to do this weekend, I will be Sullen.

I spent a bunch of the afternoon trying to automate some of the stuff I have to do tomorrow, because it is stupid and repetitive and should totally be done by machines.

All the Google hits on the error I was getting said, "If you're doing X, it will Y, so you need to Z", so it only took me a few hours to realize that I was Xing. Bah.

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8 August 2014 - Friday

Watched more Mythbusters.

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7 August 2014 - Thursday

So sleepy.

Property of a Lady Faire (Simon R Green) is the 485th in the "Secret Histories" series. In this volume, Eddie is on the outs with the Droods, and the secret things of the world are getting relegated to history at an alarming rate.

Downfall (Rob Thurman) is the 9th and possibly last in the "Cal Leandros" series. Much of it is told from Robin's point of view, which is not nearly alien enough considering how old he's supposed to be. Anyway, many unnatural creatures are vanquished, and Niko is still awesome.

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6 August 2014 - Wednesday

Ken is running Earthdawn again. This week, the PCs tried to get a government contract to ship stuff to where they wanted to go anyway, but instead got a line on a missing dwarven prince who probably headed that way and may very well be in need of rescue. (He's not officially missing, and there's officially no reward, but surely the gratitude of a prince will be worth its weight in orichalcum.) On the way out of town, they helped their pilot escape from his ex (ex-what? we're not sure, it's an obsidiman) but also saved King Dling of Bartertown and his throne.

Next week: doom! Or maybe more discussion about switching to 13th Age.

13th Age "one unique things":

  • "When I astrally projected to the 7th Age, a ghoul princess ate my arm, but she gave me one of hers in exchange. It fits suprisingly well." (This one goes with Ken's desire to have a chaos mage with the 7th Age Reenactor background.)
  • "The third eye in my forehead belongs to the demon imprisoned in my skull. No, it doesn't talk to me. Why would you think that?" (Paladin of the Great Gold Wyrm?)
  • "My parents accidentally created a god, and now I'm the hereditary high priestess." (Cleric, or some imitation thereof.)
  • "I'm not allowed in Axis after my last performance caused ten thousand maidens to riot in the streets." (A bard, who I couldn't play.)
  • "I was discovered in a living dungeon, armed and armored in a fashion no one had seen before, with the art of war but no anecdotes." (Commander.)
  • Or a variant, "One minute I was waiting for the taxi to moult, the next a band of lunatic were chipping me out of some kind of crystal slug machine, in a crazy world where caves are alive and people kill each other with their brains!" For extra fun, add, "And now I'm bilaterally symmetric!"
  • "Twenty years ago, my mom had an affair with the King of the Wild Wood, and all I got were these stupid antlers." (Druid? Ranger? Or anything except druid or ranger?)

Ideas by Ken (Mon Aug 18 20:06:32 2014)

Those are completely awesome, man. The bilaterally symmetric line is great. Right now I'm thinking Barbarian, with the One Unique Thing of "The Orc Lord has sworn to slay me in personal combat", or possibly "I am literally Khan from Star Trek", or both.

We totally need to play this thing.

Re: Ideas by Trip (Tue Aug 19 11:33:55 2014)

Yes, we totally do. We just need gamers and a time slot and a venue.

Maybe we can cross over with Fading Suns. Mazoku's unique is "I am the ugliest Thana ever".

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5 August 2014 - Tuesday

I have to do a work thing on Saturday, so I will not be cool enough to go to Roseville and swim with Jus.

Fluency (Jennifer Foehner Wells) fails at alien biology being alien. I'm not sure how well it does on human psychology, although to be fair it's not a standard first-contact scenario. Overall, I would rate it slightly higher than Star Trek.

Dark Lightning (John Varley) is the Nth in the series of Heinlein juveniles for the new century. By this point it is a couple of generations down from the original teenagers who built a rocketship in their backyard. How much trouble could eighteen-year old blonde twins get into on a generation ship in interstellar space, anyway?

There are a lot of deus ex machina bits to this book, some of them explicit and some more along the lines of "Oh, did we forget to mention we're [SPOILER]?". I do not feel that this makes it stronger.

there you go confusing your prepositions again by marith (Mon Aug 11 10:30:24 2014)

Silly Trip. I could not go either, but it is not because either of us was not cool enough to go. Rather, because of work things, we were not cool enough from swimming in Roseville with Jus. We had to get inferior coolness from fans and air conditioning.

And you know that, and you also know that the constant stream of self-deprecation is low-grade toxic, and disguising it as humor doesn't make it less so. Me, I can't stop the thoughts in my head, but I'm trying not to legitimize them by writing them down or saying them out loud as though they were fact. You are very good at noticing when I do that and calling me on it. So keep trying for yourself too?

Preposition trouble by Trip (Tue Aug 12 21:07:15 2014)

At least I'm doing better than Daffy Duck, who has pronoun trouble? And never calls me on my crap?

Re: preposition trouble by marithlizard (Wed Aug 13 09:55:44 2014)

True! Also doing better than Yoda you are, parts of speech in the right order you put and everything!

So there! by Trip (Fri Aug 29 19:50:02 2014)

The other night I said to Marmalade, "Should I sweat to death? Would that be good? No! That would be terrible! Because I would be dead!"

Marmalade did not overtly dispute this.

Excellent! by marithlizard (Fri Aug 29 22:38:03 2014)

Continue with the respiring but not the fatal perspiring!

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4 August 2014 - Monday

Back to work.

Derelict (LJ Cohen) is not exactly what I expected from the cover blurb about stolen spaceships and stowaways and crazed AIs. It's not a wildly different genre or anything, but it's not as adventurous as that sounds. There's a lot of trying to fix broken technical things, and deal with parents who have Expectations or maybe Schemes, and generally dealing with life, as well as some exciting space adventure. The future technical stuff is fairly well done, although the author does not seem to understand the scale of space.

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3 August 2014 - Sunday

Yet another Sunday with no gaming. I think this time it's because one of the Fading Suns players is recovering from unspecified (and therefore probably horribly unpleasant) surgery.

In the middle of this disc of Mythbusters, they must have skipped some episodes, because suddenly there are extra people with no introduction. But, there are still myths to be busted.

It is probably terrible of me to think this, but after watching an episode with the famous Kari, it seems like she is there solely to get more horny geek guys to watch the show. 8(

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2 August 2014 - Saturday

I finished watching Henneko which is undoubtedly very shounen and mostly silly, but I liked it. Tsukiko being incredibly emotional and no one reacting because [SPOILER] was very touching.

Marith has to work, so we had no Princess Tutu or Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. (I am worried about Marith, who seems to always be having to work more, and never work less, which is not a sustainable lizard model.)

  • Tiger & Bunny 1-2: Ah, the traditional "complete opposites forced to work together" schtick. But everything is better when you make fun of corporate-sponsored superheroes, and it is definitely very shiny. I like the three-layered city.
  • Sherlock S3 2: "Brushed your teeth, Benedict? Flossed? Mouthwash? Okay, here's the scenery. Get to chewing." But what do you expect from Sherlock at such a display of normal human emotion as a wedding?

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1 August 2014 - Friday

At least we still have an August after using up July! And this August contains Fridays!

There is now a graphic novel version of Ringworld. This hurts my brain. (It's not all that good in the first volume, but arguably the original was not so great either, in many ways.)

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