Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 September 2014 - Tuesday

Marmalade is getting pretty tired of only getting gooshyfood, so it's a good thing his mouth should be healed up by now!

Stellar Assassin (T Jackson King) is not quite as cheesy as it sounds, possibly because it has only STL starships (although FTL communication, which suggests that the AIs should have FTL travel) and mostly very non-humanoid aliens. The alien mentalities are more told about than shown, though, and the love interest alien is awfully humanoid.

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29 September 2014 - Monday

Still on call, but it's usually not an issue during the— oh, thank you for calling at 6am to ask how to handle an incident you should know how to handle, cow orker.

Poor Aspen is getting more and more fearful of me because every time I come near her, I chase her down and fill her mouth with horrible medicine. :(

Everybody knows,

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
Gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

but only those who read Maplecroft (Cherie Priest) will know why.

This is apparently the first of a series, although I'm not sure how far it can go before getting stale or has to diverge too much from history.

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28 September 2014 - Sunday

No gaming today, only work. Not hard work, since I just had to monitor the system to make sure it was continuing to do its thing, but it didn't finish until like 21:00 (which was conveniently when we had the meeting to discuss how it was going, so I could report good news).

Black Wings of Cthulhu is a collection of Lovecraftian stories assembled by S T Joshi, who may reasonably be considered to know his stuff. And indeed, most of the stories are pretty good, and most of them I had not seen before.

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27 September 2014 - Saturday

Did I go to the second session of iPad art class today? Did I go to anime today? No, I did not. Instead I spent like 16 hours working on a customer issue. I shouldn't complain, since my boss and cow orker were up all night, instead of merely starting first thing in the morning, but I am going to complain anyway!

It doesn't help that we ended up doing this morning what I said we should do yesterday afternoon, after Other People wasted the whole night faffing about.

Mutter grumble grrr.

Terrible anime I watched while waiting for machines to do their mechanical thing:

  • I Couldn't Become A Hero, So I Reluctantly Got A Job: A PC in training when the war against the demons ends has to take a job in a store selling consumer magic items, next to the daughter of the demon king. Fan service, retail commerce, and fan service ensue.
  • Momo Kyun Sword: An old couple find a baby girl in a giant peach. When she grows up to have giant peaches of her own, she and her pheasant, dog, and monkey join up with the Celestial Maiden Squad to fight oni who are trying to gather fragments of the magic peach. Fan service, transformation sequences, and fan service ensue.

What, I said it was terrible! Also unlikely to use any of my scarce neurons.

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26 September 2014 - Friday

Wait, I have to go back to work, what?!

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25 September 2014 - Thursday

Today, I oppressed cats! Marmalade and Aspen had to go in for a dental overhaul, which means I had to put them into carriers (not one carrier, because Marmalade was throwing a hissy fit) and trundle them all the way to the vet, though surprise rain. Poor Aspen was closest to the puddles and in the carrier with the most holes, so she got quite wet despite my almost-clever use of plastic sheeting. Sad kitty.

Fortunately, by the time they were ready to come home, it was no longer raining, so I did not have to get Marith to come up to transport them or anything. (Plus, they were so drugged up, they probably wouldn't have noticed getting wet.) Marmalade only had to have one tooth removed, but Aspen came back lighter by nine teeth. It really is very hard to be Aspen.

Now the dented kitties have painkillers twice a day, and Aspen also has antibiotics. Ghirardelli has great relief at having escaped the Box of Woe, which he expressed by wanting to play Chococat Chase the whole time the other cats were gone.

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24 September 2014 - Wednesday

I trundled all the way down to San Jose for Earthdawn, but Ken was too fried from work to GM so we had to play 7 Wonders instead. I came in second from last and third from last (out of five), which is better than I expected.

In The Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath (Maureen Johnson), a girl from a small town in Louisiana goes to boarding school in London and gets mixed up with ghosts. The narrator is pretty engaging, and I like that when ghosts destroy her school life, the problems don't get magically resolved.

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23 September 2014 - Tuesday

Did something happen today? Who knows.

Steel World, Dust World, and Tech World (BV Larson) are not great, and in fact are pretty bad by some measures (as one expects from ebook-only publications), but I want to find out more about what's going on in the background with the revival machines. It seems like there's something being hinted at.

Unmade (Sarah Rees Brennan) mysteriously appeared in my Virtual Kindle this morning, so I had to devour it. It is as good as the second one, although perhaps not quite as good as the first. Also, there is doom.

Maybe it's just that it's been so long since I read the last one, but Shadow Unit 15 (Elizabeth Bear, Emma Bull, Steven Brust, Chelsea Polk) didn't grab me as much as previous episodes, even though there was more than enough doom.

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22 September 2014 - Monday

Hi-ho, hi-ho.

Pilgrim of the Sky (Natania Barron) is a particular kind of fantasy that I don't know the name of. It reminds me of Alis Rasmussen Kate Elliot's The Labyrinth Gate, which only one person reading this is likely to know. Who says reviews have to be helpful?

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21 September 2014 - Sunday

Even though I am not on call, other people are too busy with lives to game. Bah!

Something More Than Night (Ian Tregillis) tries to combine two genres, or maybe embed one within the other, which I appreciate, but I don't think it was entirely successful. Noir is a very human genre, and goes poorly with transcendent beings.

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20 September 2014 - Saturday

Today, I did something useful, or at least productive! I went to the Pacific Art League (which is not a superhero or supervillain organization, as far as I can tell) to learn to do iPad Art!

We are using Paper by 53 to start off with, since it is simple and will hopefully lead to reduced confusion. It looks like everyone except me is already a painter and learning iPad; I'm the only one who is familiar with iPad and learning art stuff for the first time. I am also like the second-youngest person out of eight.

After going through all half-dozen or so features of Paper, we painted leaves. Kind of abstract leaves, but definitely leaf-shaped object.

  • Princess Tutu 24: Apparently this show is so meta that it glows, because there is a lampshade on it.
  • Chihayafuru 3-4: End flashback, cue teenaged angst!
  • Tiger & Bunny 6-7: I like that the special effects are different, but the descriptions of surprised or terrified witnesses would be the same.
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 62: I dunno, this doesn't seem like the kind of problem one should be solving via shounen punching. The long-term planning that got them to the punching place was good, though.

Next week, double finale action!

Yay art! by Avalon (Sat Sep 27 19:59:42 2014)

Yay art class! I hope it keeps being fun once you are not on call. And also it is fine to be the youngest, it just shows you can take art for a long time. =)

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19 September 2014 - Friday

Nothing useful was accomplished today, except maybe playing a bit of Sil very badly. No, even worse than what you're thinking.

At least I am not on call — that got swapped to next week.

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18 September 2014 - Thursday

Grr. Argh.

I don't know why I thought World Trigger (Diasuke Ashihara) might be interesting, but the first two volumes show no promise.

Terms of Enlistment and Lines of Departure (Marko Kloos) are mediocre military SF, in a future in which Earth is covered in housing projects full of welfare scum too lazy to seek a better life in the offworld colonies. Also, alien invaders that are kind of dim.

The Godless (Ben Peek) is part of the growing subgenre of post-divine fantasy, in which there were gods but are no longer (The Grim Company, City of Stairs, etc). It is not otherwise that interesting.

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17 September 2014 - Wednesday

We tried to get Ethiopian for gaming dinner, but the restaurant thwarted us by not existing. We got Chinese instead.

Dave was sure we were all going to die immediately in the fight, but in fact Isidari Taunted most of the opposition so they were ineffective (compared to their previous state, anyway) and only got stabbed a few more times. The villain got away, but did turn loose the dwarven prince and only exploded bones in a few of us before leaving via a spell twice the level any of us could cast. We'll call it a victory!

We did have to give up some legend points keeping the whole thing secret, but surely the prince will remember how much he owes us once he becomes king.

Monstrous Affections (ed Kelly Link, Gavin J Grant) is pretty much what the title says: an anthology with the theme of monsters (broadly defined) plus love. I liked many of the stories, especially the one that is a continuation of The Turn of the Story.

In Kokoro Connect vol 1 (Sadanatsu Anda, CuteG), a bunch of apparently random high-school students start switching bodies. They deal with it remarkably well, despite being teenagers.

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16 September 2014 - Tuesday

Oh look, Tuesday.

I didn't like The Company Man (Robert Jackson Bennett) quite as much as American Elsewhere, but about as much as City of Stairs. It has a similar feel of people in over their heads so far they don't even know a surface exists.

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15 September 2014 - Monday

Every other Monday morning, I realize why everyone moving to San Jose sucks.

The Iron Trial (Holly Black, Cassandra Clare) is in the now-standard Magic Boarding School genre, but the magic is rather different, the school is rather different, and the protagonist's One Unique Thing is... quite different.

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14 September 2014 - Sunday

How do we play Fading Suns again? Oh, yah, I suck at interacting with humans and everyone else is great. Also apparently my character never noticed that half the planet is MADE OF METAL jeez. Who wrote this setting, anyway?

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13 September 2014 - Saturday

Grrr. Argh.

  • Princess Tutu 23: Oh yah, I forgot about this part of the story completely.
  • Chihayafuru 1-2: It's sports anime about karuta!
  • Tiger & Bunny 5: You know, that's the exact same power that Greed has, but Greed is so much more competent with it.
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 61: Wow, that's a lot of doom. Even compared to other shows I say that about!

American Elsewhere (Robert Jackson Bennett) is pretty swell cosmic horror. (Arguably some of it is over-anthropomorphized, but it has to fit into the brains of readers, so I will give it some slack based on the rest.)

? by Avalon (Fri Sep 19 16:52:40 2014)

Was this my day? =)

Re: ? by Trip (Mon Sep 22 08:35:57 2014)

It is the sound zombies make, because I was pretty zombie-like that day.

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12 September 2014 - Friday

Yay! I made it to Friday again!

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11 September 2014 - Thursday

Even more customers. But also Avalon.

Yesterday's Hero (Jonathan Wood) is the sequel to No Hero, in which the fate of the entire world continues to depend on half a dozen lunatics with severe relationship problems and no funding. This cannot possibly be a stable situation.

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10 September 2014 - Wednesday

After some mucking around with ghoul-infested buildings and creepy rooftops and rooms full of killer bugs, the Earthdawn PCs finally made it into the villain's lair, where he had the Prince of the Dwarves attached to an Infernal Apparatus and two dragon eggs. He started his villainous rant with, "I know this is going to make me sound like the villain, but..." so we tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but when he got to the part about kidnapping people and turning them into monsters that he lets loose in cities, my character had to conclude that he was, in fact, a villain, and roll way up on Taunt. When we have the fight next week, he will be down 11 steps on everything, so we might not die immediately!

The Night Gardener (Jonathan Auxier) is actually pretty spooky, for a kid's book. Also, a lot of Victorians kind of sucked.

If "urban fantasy" means private eyes vs vampires in Chicago, what do you call City of Stairs (Robert Jackson Bennett), where large parts of the city have disappeared because the gods who conjured them out of nothing have been killed? (And yes, having large chunks of your divine utopia vanish does cause the same problems that any massive infrastructure failure does.) Also: colonialism, countercolonialism, suppression of native culture, military secrets, completely incomprehensible magic, and secret agents.

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9 September 2014 - Tuesday

Customers are still here. My brain is not here.

Spell of Desire is by Tomu Ohmi, who also did Midnight Secretary, and is very similar. The setting is different, but the character dynamics, not so much. Probably anyone who likes one will like the other.

In The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant (Drew Hayes), the eponymous vampire gets into a lot of trouble, but not terribly original or well-written trouble.

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8 September 2014 - Monday

Why are there customers again? Didn't we just get rid of these guys?

Black Rose Alice is by Setona Mizushiro, the same person who did Afterschool Nightmare. Volume 1 contains vampires with bug-themed powers, and also doom.

The Mirror Empire (Kameron Hurley) is non-European epic fantasy. Actually, I'm not sure these cultures resemble anything on Earth[*], even without the astronomy-powered magic, interdimensional invasions, and walking plants of death. They are sufficiently strange that I had trouble getting into them, in fact, which is pretty unusual. I think I liked it, though.

[*] If you have references to prove me wrong, that would be awesome.

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7 September 2014 - Sunday

That was not really a very focused session of Immortal Empire, but we did find out more about the Doom From Beneath. And the bunyip has not visibly betrayed us yet, except by sending us into a Nigh-Bottomless Shaft of Death, and we kind of volunteered for that.

Little green goblin guys and magma-pumping plants, just what we needed for this matri-nation ceremony!

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6 September 2014 - Saturday

I watched the rest of 11 Eyes, and it mostly made sense. The ending could even be read as polily ever after, if you squint. That's got to be one of the oldest pickup lines in the book, though.

  • Princess Tutu 22: Look, it's the machina!
  • Sherlock S3 3: I know it's completely not in genre, but I wanted to see memory palace hacking.
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 58: They can do that?!

I didn't like volume 7 of Wandering Son (Shimura Takako) quite as much as some of the previous ones, because it is more standard drama and has less of the unique elements. But it is still good.

visual entertainments by marith (Thu Sep 18 21:33:56 2014)

snk Will Princess Tutu dance a pas de deux with the deux ex machina?

Yes, memory palace hacking would be neat, and I wouldn't put it past them to do it at some point. A bit Inceptionlike.

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5 September 2014 - Friday

Friday is Friday!

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4 September 2014 - Thursday

It's like Wednesday, but with Thursday meetings.

The Living End (Craig Schaefer) is the third book in the series that started with The Long Way Down and Redemption Song, and the conclusion of the plot arc (or maybe the conclusion of the first master villain). It am very pleased with the idea behind the villain's plan.

The Winter Long (Seanan McGuire) is the 953rd book in the "October Daye" series, which shows no sign of giving the main character a break. This time, the villainy goes all the way back to the first book, so I may have to reread the series from the beginning. That's a lot of books, even it's all Seanan McGuire!

City of Dark Magic (Magnus Flyte) is not quite SF-for-a-mainstream audience, but it does feel like a mainstream humorous novel with SFnal elements -- like Christopher Moore or something, but with more music history and the occasional defenestration.

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3 September 2014 - Wednesday

Bah, Monday. But at least Friday is close!

In Indigo Springs and Blue Magic (A M Dellamonica), a group of friends find a magic well and it destroys their friendship, some of their lives, and almost the world. Which is really what you should expect from vast magical power, right? But it is unquestionably magic, which is always nice.

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2 September 2014 - Tuesday

Today is an important observance for my people, which is why I took it as one of my six floating holidays for the year. We call it Slack Day.

Apparently, an important part of Slack Day is sitting under a cat while watching Crunchyroll.

The main character of Irregular at Magic High School continues to be Batman, only with more chicks.

I still like Aldnoah Zero, although it would be nice to see the princess do more. On the other hand, the things she is doing are fairly princess-like — she is not an action hero.

Sailor Moon Crystal is finally up to Sailor Jupiter, who was my favorite in the first anime adaptation. She is still cool.

11 Eyes has the protagonists kidnapped into a pocket dimension where creepy monsters that remind me of Rahxephon sing at them, bizarre villains who seem to feel they're perfectly in the right to kill them, and random acts of fanservice.

Black Bullet is in the venerable Monster Invasion genre, although a little more post-apocalyptic than some, with the obligatory young girls with monstrous superpowers to fight the monsters. Gunslinger Girl × Claymore?

important observance day by marithlizard (Fri Sep 12 04:37:59 2014)

But did you claim it properly by giving a knife to HR and making the ritual request?

Re: important observance day by Trip (Sat Sep 13 12:08:18 2014)

We have a spreadsheet for that.

Re: important observance day by marithlizard (Sun Sep 14 00:12:21 2014)

So, you just type the ritual phrase "Cut me some slack, man" into the Reason column? Bah, these modern observances, they just don't have the same zing.

HR rituals by Avalon (Sun Sep 14 18:39:59 2014)

Well if you just put 'cut me' then it would go better with the knife...

Re: HR rituals by marithlizard (Mon Sep 15 01:20:27 2014)

I was imagining "cutting some slack" acted out as cutting off a length of a piece of rope or something. Hi, I'd like to request about one day of slack, plus an ergonomic keyboard, thanks!

..Then again, perhaps it would be a bad idea to give HR ideas by putting the verb "cut" anywhere in a sentence about the workforce.

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1 September 2014 - Monday

Oh man, we're leaving Roseville and I forgot to swim!

Cat report: 12 paws!

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