Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 October 2014 - Friday

Bah, there is some sort of sports-team-related event (not even actual sports) clogging up the trains. One was running 143 minutes late! But they were all locals, so it didn't matter which one showed up at the station to take me to San Jose.

There were no trick-or-treaters, but we played Tiny Epic Kingdoms (I lost horribly) and then several rounds of Pairs (I lost horribly again).

The Ripper Affair (Lilith Saintcrow) is third or thereabouts in the steampunk fantasy series about a scary sorceress and her sidekick who has deduction powers. It might just be that I read it in chunks on the train, but the pacing seemed off, with too sharp of a knee between the buildup and the climax.

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30 October 2014 - Thursday

Thursday is like Friday, right?

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29 October 2014 - Wednesday

Hurray! Avalon is back! She had a good time in Chicago! She feels recharged and able to deal with her horrible workplace again, which means it was a successful vacation!

I don't know if the author intended it, but Annihilation (Jeff Vandermeer) is completely Cthulhoid: the explorers travel into a strange place, find impossible creatures and/or phenomena, go mad, and mostly die. You could ask no more from the Mountains of Madness themselves.

Shadow and Bone(Leigh Bardugo) is Russia-based YA fantasy, which is probably its major contribution to the genre. It's a perfectly fine book on its own, not EFP, but not otherwise remarkable.

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28 October 2014 - Tuesday

Avalon and Ayse are supposed to each be back at their respective lairs today. Tomorrow I will have to grill them!

The Shadows of Eldolan is a 13th Age adventure for first-level characters. It's fairly long, with multiple paths of investigation leading to the climactic battle, but it seems somehow unsatisfying. I think it may be because there are so many places where it says, "Something from a PC's unique or icon relationship goes here". I can't see a way to make a 13th Age adventure without that, though, so maybe it's just as well I almost never use modules when GMing.

The protagonist of Pretty Girl-13 (Liz Coley) is multiple, which is in the LoC indexing block, so I'm not counting it as a spoiler even though it isn't apparent until quite a few pages into the book. It seems significantly less stupid than most fictional treatments of DID, although this means that the protagonist does not become multiple through an overdose of rainbows and puppies.

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27 October 2014 - Monday

Boss is back from vacation. Hopefully she'll appreciate that the department is not actually on fire.

Necropolis (Catharine Arnold) is subtitled "London and its Dead", and that's pretty much what it's about. This is not a book for the faint of heart, since the past was loathsome in more than a moral sense. Apparently keeping dead bodies neatly buried away from where people live is quite a recent innovation (in the mainstream of English-derived culture, anyway).

The Girl From the Well (Rin Chupeco) is a Japanese horror story told from the point of view of the horrible murderous ghost with long black hair (who actually has good reasons for what she does).

I quite liked Mortal Danger (Ann Aguirre), enough to keep reading it when anime and sudoku beckoned to my tiny brain. Maybe it's because the main character starts as a depressed social reject.

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26 October 2014 - Sunday

Hurray, Fading Suns! Except we didn't have our psychic archaeologist, which is too bad, because tracking down the mysterious mass that the planet's energy was being projected to found us a partially-constructed jumpgate being investigated by a secret Charioteer operation. Apparently every time the power gets sucked out of the planet, a little more of the gate rezzes, which would be awesome if people weren't using the planet.

I still suck at playing characters who talk, but at least Mazoku was able to get a nice ship out of the local count. Surely owing a Decados noble a favor cannot be any sort of inconvenience in the future.

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25 October 2014 - Saturday

Ayse and Marith are both away, so no anime, but Avalon is also away, so no extra date night. Sniff!

I did get to iPad art class, where we finished up last week's painting and then learned to paint more fruits. Wheeee!

Although I am not watching the usual anime tonight, I have watched the beginnings of lots of series over the past few weeks, when getting out of bed on weekends is too much work.

  • Angel Beats: High school in limbo, with the underground resistance of people with free will against the angelic student council president and her NPCs.
  • Celestial Method: There's a UFO hovering over a small town lake, and a girl who might be from the UFO, and another girl who moved away and then back and doesn't remember about the UFO girl. Or something. I'm not sure.
  • Cross Ange: In a world where only subhuman mutants can't use TK, the princess learns she is a subhuman mutant and is sent off to capitalist women's prison to pilot mecha against interdimensional dragons. Some adjustment on her part is required.
  • Girl Friend BETA: High school life with no significant male characters.
  • Gugure! Kokkuri-san: Artifical and nominally emotionless little girl summons a wacky fox spirit. Alleged hilarity ensues.
  • Kyousougiga: A monk who can draw real things, a rabbit who makes a supernatural deal because feels, the kids they drew/spawned, a city they drew, the interdimensional monk brigade, ...
  • The Fruit of Grisaia doesn't know whether it wants to be assassin intrigue or harem fanservice.
  • When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace:
  • Yona of the Dawn: Quasihistorical, princess, coup. From the credits, she will eventually become badass, but in the first couple of episodes she is pretty useless.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Magical girls vs bizarre monsters. Notable because one of the magical girls is disabled. I think Marith would like the visuals of the interdimensional battle space.

Finally, I have obtained the final part (vol 7-9 omnibus) of Kanokon (Katsumi Nishino, Rin Yamaki). It is not any more morally edifying than the rest of it, and some of the plot lines are pretty squished, but it is reasonably conclusive and probably polily ever after.

Fruit and back by Avalon (Wed Oct 29 16:44:59 2014)

Back! I am hoarding the plane points to come see you. Also I like the fruit. =)

Re: back with fruit by Trip (Thu Oct 30 16:03:07 2014)


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24 October 2014 - Friday

No more on call for me! Until next time, anyway.

The heroine of Fiendish (Brenna Yovanoff) starts off in such a bad position that things pretty much have to get better, but that leaves a lot of room for being trapped in a small town on the wrong side of a dark secret.

The heroine of Blackbird (Anna Carey) also starts off in a pretty bad situation, but in a completely different genre. More civilization, which may be a bug rather than a feature. Approximately the same number of love interests, though.

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23 October 2014 - Thursday


Avalon assures me that she is having the most fun ever in Chicago. I am not in Chicago, so I have nothing to except convert Earthdawn to Dungeon World (badly).

The Blood Keeper (Tessa Gratton) is the sequel to Blood Magic, although it centers on characters who were only mentioned in the first book, and has a pretty different view of the magic system. Also, romance.

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22 October 2014 - Wednesday

I got a little bit of Avalon time tonight, but she is still busy with work so she can leave tomorrow.

I hear Spelljammer is seminal, or something, and DriveThruRPG had it in PDF for not too much, so I picked it up. Wow, D&D2 had a lot of mechanics, and they were all clunky. However, it's hard to go wrong with giant illithid dreadnaughts cruising the stars, and wretched asteroid hives of scum and villany, even if they have to fit into the existing AD&D multiverse.

I liked the "United States of Asgard" books, so I made Amazon give me other books by Tessa Gratton. Blood Magic is not as wild, but is still pretty good YA modern fantasy.

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21 October 2014 - Tuesday

No Avalon for me! She is full of work stress because she is going to be out for a few days. :(

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20 October 2014 - Monday

Boss is still on vacation. Fortunately things have been pretty quiet.

The Strange Maid (Tessa Gratton) has nothing to do with domestic service, but plenty with madness. It overlaps the events of The Lost Sun, but goes off in another direction entirely, with a girl who wants to be a Valkyrie in the worst way and the riddle she has to solve.

The released version of OVA is pretty much the same as the prerelease version, shock, surprise. I'm sure it would work, but it's not a very satisfying system, somehow.

The Accelerated Book of Approaches can sadly be summed up as "you could totally swipe the stats from some other game to use as approaches in Fate Accelerated".

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19 October 2014 - Sunday

Work called, but it was for one of my favorite customers, so I didn't mind helping them, and it only took like an hour and a half.

No gaming.

Twelve paws!

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18 October 2014 - Saturday

No customer calls today, hurray!

I made it to iPad Art Class again and used what I learned last week about Procreate to paint some neon fruit. Then I tried to paint a stingray from a photo, but messed it up.

Hurray for French onion soup!

  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica 3: Ken apparently finds this series extremely vile. I do not understand. It's almost as though he has different opinions than me.
  • Chihayafuru 7-8: Once the karuta is in your blood, there is no escape!
  • Tiger & Bunny 10-11: That's suspiciously like teamwork.
  • Legend of Korra season II 3: Not looking less villainous there, obvious villain.

Last Plane to Heaven is a memorial anthology for Jay Lake, who died in June of colon cancer, containing 32 of his short stories. The stories are good, although maybe a bit repetitive thematically similar, but the brief essay from Lake at the end made me feel extremely mortal.

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17 October 2014 - Friday

It's Friday! Yay! I'm on call! Boo!

I hope this weekend goes better than my last on-call weekend. Missing two consecutive sessions of iPad art class would suck.

Finder: Third World (Carla Speed McNeil) is more of Jaeger's surreal life, but in color and with a job.

Carl also told me to read Tessa Gratton, so I picked up The Lost Sun, the first book in the "United States of Asgard" series. As the name suggests, the setting is like the modern US — cars, senators, TVs, purple mountains' majesties, etc — but with a new World Tree in Philadelphia, trolls roaming the wilderness, and the Norse gods hanging around causing trouble. The main characters are a hereditary berserker and a seer. They fight crime go on a road trip to save Baldur.

Amazon recommended The Chaos of Stars (Kiersten White) to me based on my buying Tessa Gratton books, and was probably right to have done so. How can you go wrong with the teenaged daughter of Isis and Osiris fleeing her dysfunctional family to have a life in San Francisco and meet people who aren't 5000-year-old gods? There may be a romance subplot.

Unusual in shoujo literature for having a first-person protagonist who is straight-up gorgeous, not quirky or cute or genki.

United States of Asgard novellas by Carl (Sat Nov 29 00:18:43 2014)

Tessa Gratton's third United States of Asgard novel, The Apple Throne will be out April 20, 2015. In the meantime her collection The Weight of Stars just came out, containing "Gold Runner: A Novella of Goblins, Theft, and Teenage Gods for all the girls who love themselves, Lady Berserk: A Novella of Dragons, Trickster Gods, and Reality TV for all the girls with dragons in their hearts, Glory's Teeth: A Novella of Hungry Girls and the End of the World, for all the girls who hunger" and can be read in any order, although I'd recommend the order listed. I liked them very much.

I also liked Blood Magic (not as much), and am looking forward to reading The Blood Keeper, by and by.

Re: United States of Asgard novellas by Trip (Sun Nov 30 11:50:16 2014)

I have Weight of Stars, although I have not yet read it!

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16 October 2014 - Thursday

In The Dark Defiles (Richard K Morgan), we finally find out what's going on with the Helmsmen, and also with the main characters. I found some of the stuff in Archeth's plotline over the top, but not too much so, and overall there was enough doom and transformation to be satisfying.

This seems like the end of the story, although there is something set up for when Archeth gets back from her quest that I would like to see.

Carl listed Exo (Steven Gould) as one of his favorite books of the past year, and I can see why. It has all the awesomeness of the previous book in the series, Impulse, with a bunch of Rocket Girls mixed in.

I am personally even more pleased, because it is pretty much what I thought Cent should do with the powers she gained in Impulse, only done better. However, it seems like the next book is going to have to involve substantial social change, especially with what we already know about how people get powers. (That will probably be awesome too.)

Twelve paws!

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15 October 2014 - Wednesday

Argh, no Earthdawn for me. Someone used the train to commit suicide, which resulted in massive delays and confusion. We finally made it to the San Antonio station well after I was supposed to be in San Jose, and the train to continue further south hadn't even arrived on the other track, so I gave up and went home. Fortunately everyone else had already heard about the mess and started playing 7 Wonders without me.

Yes, I know my response to someone committing suicide should not be, "I'm missing gaming". I fail at compassion. :(

In continued catchup, I read The Cold Commands (Richard K Morgan), which has many characters who also fail at compassion, although admittedly they are under more stress. I remembered some stuff, but had completely forgotten how Gil learned [SPOILER].

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14 October 2014 - Tuesday

Hurray! It's Liralen! And Carl! And Chrisber and Christy and Matteo! And Earl and Cat, although I've seen them only like ten or eleven months ago, so it's not as big an occasion. Also, enough Peking Duck to crush an scheming eunuch! [*]

[*] Yes, everything I know about China I learned from playing Feng Shui.

Questlandia combines world creation and character-level roleplay into one-shot sessions. By definition, the magical kingdom you create is beset by troubles, and the PCs are engaged with the troubles. It's a very abstract system, but that's okay.

Maybe this is what we should be playing instead of Microscope + whatever.

The Girls From Alcyone (Cary Caffrey) has cybernetically-enhanced girl-smooches in space, but not really anything to recommend it.

The hook for The Most Human Human (Brian Christian) is the Loebner Prize, which recognizes not only a "most human computer" (the goal of the Turing test) but a "most human human". What does it take to be more human than the best chatbots? Psychology, philosophy, and computer science, including the history of computer chess and the limitations of statistical conversation generation. Although I kind of expected it, Christian does not say that strong AI is impossible, just that we aren't anywhere close and shouldn't pretend that we are.

Christian's conclusion is that being human means high information, which means novelty. Neophilia FTW!

I tried reading the third book, which just came out, but I didn't remember where the character were or what they were doing, so I went to the beginning and reread The Steel Remains (Richard K Morgan). Oh yah, that's how things got so messed up.

liralen and peking duck by marithlizard (Fri Oct 17 23:30:19 2014)

Now I want a dish at Chef Chu's to be named Flat Eunuch.

Re: liralen and peking duck by Trip (Mon Oct 20 08:29:50 2014)

But that would just be a double order of Peking Duck! It would need something distinctive to be a new dish.

Re: liralen and peking duck by marith (Mon Oct 20 10:18:18 2014)

I didn't say it had to be a new dish! We could just rename the Pressed Duck, I guess...

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13 October 2014 - Monday

The most inaspicious day of all: Monday the 13th!

In The Brothers Cabal (Jonathan L Howard), Johannes and Horst save the world, or at least part of Europe, from horrible monsters, which is pretty ironic, really.

I found this the weakest of the four, possibly because the adversity was not as interesting.

Twelve paws!

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12 October 2014 - Sunday

I finally got around to ordering the volumes I was missing, so now I am caught up through volume 5 of From The New World (Yusuke Kishi, Toru Oikawa). Their society is still appalling, but I can see why they thought they had to make it that way. I can't really blame the rats, though.

Finally, more Fading Suns! I still suck, but at least I was able to enable one of the other PCs to interact with the bizarre alien tech that may be destroying the planet but is almost certainly not mind-controlling her. Much.

My character should be using NPCs as resources, rather than using powers or tech or even violence. Also I should be playing out social scenes in full, because the other players are LARPers. And dying in a pit.

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11 October 2014 - Saturday

After a morning of being useless, I went to iPad art class and learned some Procreate. This is a much more serious digital art app than Paper, with layers and brush shapes and masking and all that good stuff, so it took the old people in the class even longer to figure it out.

(Yes, I know that in some other class I will be the old person who takes too long to figure things out.)

  • Chihayafuru 6: Another perspective on the greatness of karuta!
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica 1-2: Ayse is already convinced the entire setting is creepy and wrong. I think it's the terrarium-like classrooms. And Kyubey.
  • Tiger & Bunny 9: Wow, and I thought Jus was impossible.
  • Legend of Korra season II 1-2: Is the obvious villain really the villain? Only time will tell!

You will by Avalon (Thu Oct 16 17:15:34 2014) the cool guy that has taken lots of classes in things that interest him. =)

Re: You will by Trip (Fri Oct 17 09:49:06 2014)

Possibly, but that won't make a difference to whether I can learn things!

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10 October 2014 - Friday

Yay! Made it to Friday! Hardly dead at all! And Avalon-smooches!

Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute (Jonathan L Howard) could just as easily be called, Johannes Cabal vs the Dreamlands. I think it's a tie, although possibly the Dreamlands get a moral victory just by irritating Johannes so much.

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9 October 2014 - Thursday


Ancillary Sword (Ann Leckie) picks up pretty much where Ancillary Justice left off, with Breq doing the thing for the person while the events occur. We get to see more of Radch life, military and civilian, and learn that despite all the new ways that have been invented to suck, humans still suck in all the old ways as well. We do not find out much more about the aliens. Breq is still awesome.

In Johannes Cabal the Detective (Jonathan L Howard), everyone's[*] favorite necromancer takes a journey by airship, which leads to murder, mystery, politics, women, and more politics. He is not a happy necromancer, but then is he ever?

[*] Except people who have met him.

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8 October 2014 - Wednesday

In Earthdawn, the zombie carnival has come to town. Oddly, this does not appear to be related to the recent string of grisly murders, which the PCs have been asked to solve. The carnival is just creepy, but the murders seem to be the work of a Horror that can control people from a distance.

I failed at roleplaying when I thought about whether it would be a good idea to offend the elf with thorns growing out of him, instead of immediately denouncing him as an abomination against elfkind.

The stories in Black Wings of Cthulhu 2 (ed S T Joshi) don't average quite as well as the ones in the first volume, but they are still perfectly cthromulent.

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7 October 2014 - Tuesday

Meetings. But also Avalon.

Many books that I had been waiting for magically appeared on my virtual Kindle today, because Tuesday is the Day of Releases! I only read one, however, because there was also work and Avalon to do.

Poison Fruit (Jacqueline Carey) is the third book in the "Hel's Liason" series, and could easily be the final one, since a very significant plot element is resolved. I like Daisy (how can you not like a hellspawn named Daisy?), but I felt the ending was a little anticlimactic. Nevertheless, if there are any more, I will probably buy them and enjoy them.

Since Earl was threatening to run D&D5e, I picked up the Player's Handbook and read through it. It is finished now, so I regard it more highly than when I reviewed the playtest version, but it still doesn't excite me all that much. It seems like it should be pretty functional, at least.

13th Age FTW!

Do me! by Avalon (Wed Oct 8 19:54:17 2014)


Re: Do me! by Trip (Mon Oct 13 08:39:46 2014)


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6 October 2014 - Monday


There is no Avalon, only Zuul work stress.

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5 October 2014 - Sunday

I had to get up early to go grocery shopping, since there was a surprise ramen festival yesterday, but it all worked out and I was not later than usual to Immortal Empire.

The PCs finally passed the buck for the subterranean invasion, but will probably have to take care of it anyway. At least they've learned their lesson about bringing prisoners to the Empress.

Avalon's work is being terrible. We should kill it INFERNOKRUSHER style.

No um infernokrushing by Avalon (Tue Oct 7 18:47:45 2014)

It does pay the bills. =)

INFERNOKRUSHER by Trip (Wed Oct 8 10:03:01 2014)

My favorite introduction to INFERNOKRUSHER, by the late John M Ford:

[From Verona Total Breakdown (Liebestod), a forgotten early Infernokrusher work by Bill "Hoist This Petard" Shakespeare . . .]

Ro-Mo. Your windows are still mirrored; taunt me not,
But show your colors, dare to challenge me,
These lips are two shaped charges, primed and hot,
That wait the go-code for delivery.
J-Cap. The flag is to the deadly, not the loud,
Yet aim as well as posing show in this;
The worthy throwdown's always to the proud,
And hammer down is how the hard girls kiss.
Ro-Mo. My draft is stopped; I struggle toward the clutch.
J-Cap. And would a charge of nitrous make thee run?
Ro-Mo. Too much; but what else is there but too much?
Let me take arms, and elevate the gun.
J-Cap. Small arms but hint what demolitions say.
Ro-Mo. Then, gunner, gimme one round.
J-Cap. On the way.

Re: infernokrusher by marithlizard (Fri Oct 10 05:14:59 2014)

Infernokrusher is an energetic literary movement! It's going places! (Preferably at terminal velocity.) Surely there's a place for it in the popular press!

quote from the manifesto:

Infernokrusher fiction explodes stagnant genre conventions, e.g., that itís not okay to have all your characters run over by a monster truck in what would seem to be the middle of the story

Some other famous IK poems mined from luminary discussions:

"Two paths diverged in a wood, and I-
I rode my bike off the path
That was awesome!"

I blew up the plums
that were in the icebox
and which you were probably saving for breakfast
forgive me
I like fire

Who needs seasonal
references? There is no
season without "boom".

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4 October 2014 - Saturday

Now it's really Saturday, and I am still not at work. Yay!

The Irregular at Magic High School and Aldnoah Zero seem to both be between seasons, so I watched a few episodes of RWBY. The suffer from being Poser art and having only so-so voice acting, but are good within the limitations of what they are.

I also watched a couple more episodes of Kill la Kill, but it is so weird that I want someone to watch it with.

No art class — the teacher was unavoidably abducted by aliens.

Look, it's a conveniently-located RAMEN EXTRAVAGANZA!

The different were actually noticeably different, but at least the ones that were actually from Japan were pretty yummy. Marith did not eat any, because none of the ramen stands were from New England.

  • Princess Tutu 25-26: The end! I am glad they didn't turn [SPOILER] into [SPOILER]. Ayse seemed pretty happy with it, too.
  • Chihayafuru 5: I hope we get to see the Fukui girl again. There's no way she should let the big-city hussy steal her boy!
  • Tiger & Bunny 8: What?! How dare the supervillain not be [SPOILER]?
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood 63-64: The end! Some people survived. Some people might even live happily ever after.

Next week, Puella Magi Madoka Magika (so Ayse can experience the GIANT DOOM) and er something else. Maybe more Legend of Korra?

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3 October 2014 - Friday

Today, there is no work. Only sleeping. And eating. And picking up comics. And going blblbl. And reading Johannes Cabal the Necromancer (Jonathan L Howard), which is very funny but not for the faint of heart. It seemed to be fairly well wrapped up at the end, but there are apparently a bunch of other Johannes Cabal books, so I will have to investigate.

No more terrible medicine for Aspen!

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2 October 2014 - Thursday

After a zillion months, I am finally caught up on this! I am writing the entry for 2014-10-02 on 2014-10-02! Woo hoo!

Specifically, I am writing this while waiting for the customer on a never-ending call that has already kept me three hours late at work (no Avalon for me!) to figure out what they're doing besides tormenting me. So much for starting my long weekend early!

I managed to hand the call over to someone in a better time zone shortly after midnight, and got home before 2. Ulgh.

You are a mighty conqueror by Avalon (Fri Oct 3 17:54:04 2014)

Of neverending calls!

Re: mighty conqueror by Trip (Sat Oct 4 12:45:37 2014)

But I would rather the never-ending calls collapsed due to internal conflicts, so that I could spend the time being mushy with you!

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1 October 2014 - Wednesday

There is no Earthdawn, there is only Jus and her parents going to Santa Cruz for HAPPY HAPPY JUS DAY!!

Retread Shop (T Jackson King) is set in the same universe as Stellar Assassin but is more firmly in the "orphaned human makes his way in the universe" subgenre.

We Are All Completely Fine (Daryl Gregory) is an excellent book about a therapy group of people who are completely not fine, and the horrors that reduced their SAN made them that way. I totally did not figure out who [SPOILER] was.

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