Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 December 2014 - Wednesday

Customers attacked first thing in the morning (so I had to work from home), then retreated during the day and returned in the late afternoon. Curse them!

NYE celebration fell apart because Monkeycat Towers is a house of plague, so I didn't miss any more than anyone else, but still, curse you customers!

After we made the customers happy, I stayed up until midnight to wish the cats a happy new year. They said meow.

The protagonist of Drowned (Nichola Reilly) is missing a hand and has terrible scars, which do mess up her life and don't seem like tokens to get the diversity stamp. However, her entire world is just large enough to keep 400 people above the sea monster line at high tide, so a missing hand pales in comparison. There will probably be sequels, but they'll have to work hard to explain how the world got so soggy.

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30 December 2014 - Tuesday

Wait, I was at work yesterday! How come I have to be at work again today!?

Not all the biology in Island 731 (Jeremy Robinson) holds up, but the monsters are pretty horrifying. Plus, of course, catgirl FTW.

This is not obviously related to Project Nemesis, but I know one of the later books in that series is Project 731, so suspicion seems called for.

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29 December 2014 - Monday

Back to work even more, and still on call. Bah. Humbug.

Project Nemesis (Jeremy Robinson) is a straight-up kaiju story, complete with daring hero, badass heroine, evil corporate scientists, military that does more harm than good, and monster that defies physics. There is plenty of room for an inevitable sequel.

Johannes Cabal returns in the short piece A Long Spoon (Jonathan L Howard), along with a spider-demon devil of great charm and terrifying personal habits. Because I have no survival instincts, I think she is awesome and Johannes should summon her again.

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28 December 2014 - Sunday

Even though I am on call and probably shouldn't be out of contact for such extended periods on a weekend, I went to Monkeycat Towers and let Ken crush me at San Juan, but not at Star Realms. Then I went back home for date night with Avalon.

At the start of Memory's Wake (Selina Fenech), I hoped for girlsmooches, but no. It failed me in all respects.

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27 December 2014 - Saturday

Hey, it's a weekend already! I like this one-day-work-week thing! I don't like being on call, though.

Gathering Blue (Lois Lowry) and Dragonswood (Janet Lee Carey) are two more books from the YA-fantasy-with-protagonists-with-disabilities list. The former is yet another with a bum leg, but I only read the first chapter or so before deciding it wasn't grabbing me (which is pretty hard — once I start a book I usually finish it compulsively).

The heroine of the latter is deaf in one ear, which only comes up like once. However, it's interestingly set on a fictional island near England, around the time of the King Richard/Prince John kerfuffle, and seems appropriately medievel in its squalor (not counting the fae and dragons, although even then...).

Why do I care? Maybe I just think they're getting too many points for their disads.

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26 December 2014 - Friday

Yuck, back to work! The customers seem to be hibernating, though.

The Shambling Guide to New York City (Mur Lafferty) isn't exactly paranormal romance. Paranormal chick-lit? I don't know if that term means anything, though (see, for example, Mary Sue). A major plot element is the protagonist's disastrous affair with her former boss, if that helps classify it. It was entertaining, but kind of silly.

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25 December 2014 - Thursday

Happy birthday to Isaac Newton! And an assortment of fictional personages including Mithras!

Also, presents! Well, for deserving people.

Surprisingly, Earl and Cat also were at Christmas dinner, and helped us look for the lost art of conversation. I'm not sure we found it, but we did check under the ham!

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24 December 2014 - Wednesday

I vaguely planned to go over to Monkeycat Towers today, but was too lethargic. I did do some shopping, so Christmas dinner can go forward.

Murder of Crows (Anne Bishop) is the sequel to Written in Red. A major plotline from the first book is resolved, in a good way, but possibly in a way that will lead to more doom in the next (final?) book.

I am enjoying these enough that possibly I should look for some of her other books that are not the cracktastic "Black Jewels" series.

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23 December 2014 - Tuesday

Today I ran around doing errands and eating Indian buffet and generally taking care of things like someone who can adult, but not very well.

Orange cat respiration: holding steady at 16.

Zombie novels are a quarter a dozen these days, but The Girl With All The Gifts (M R Carey) is at least slightly novel in its viewpoint. The zombie biology does not quite hold together, though.

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22 December 2014 - Monday

Back to Mountain View! Visiting friends is nice, but sleeping away from my own nest and kitties is stressful.

I am older than Ken and have been gaming for most of it. Why do I not have the good anecdotes?

Mostly I sat around and read all afternoon, all by myself!

Hieroglyph (ed Ed Finn, Kathryn Cramer) is a collection of optimistic near-future SF, built around the idea of making a simple change that would make the world better. Some are about better access to space, because well SPACE! but others are like, "what if we tried to educate people so they could learn and keep learning, instead of just indoctrinating them with the virtues of sitting in neat rows and not causing trouble?" That would indeed be pretty cool, but overall the stories did not work terrifically well as stories. It's hard to object to optimism, though, even if all paths to a better future lead over the trampled remains of the capitalist class.

The Elementals (Saundra Mitchell) is another of the YA books with disabled protagonists. It is also the story of one of those element-combining browser games played out with real people: fire + air = A, water + earth = B, A + B = something scary. I did not like the pacing, though: it went slow..., slow, slow, slow, LADY OR THE TIGER! and no denouement. Maybe it would make more sense if read with the associated other books? I'm not likely to find out.

the good anecdotes by marithlizard (Fri Dec 26 12:33:05 2014)

You have plenty of good anecdotes! For example, your players will never let you forget Bufo the Sacred Toad! :)

On the other hand, I suspect you and Tia will never let me forget the time Justice "rescued" the sacrifice in her honor. And both of us can reminisce grouchily about being Champions superheroes on a budget and having to take mass transit to the fight, and whose idea was it to build our team base with a big expensive glass window in it anyway?

Re: the good anecdotes by Trip (Fri Dec 26 14:05:34 2014)

Bufo was completely innocent in that affair!

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21 December 2014 - Sunday

Today, Jus's friend Elyssa was sick, so there was no playdate, so Jus was a grumpy Jus. We did not let her stop us from playing 7 Wonders and more Puerto Rico and stuff. I'm sure we meant to do more stuff, but mostly we sat around cozily with friends. Friends are good.

In the evening, Jus had a huge meltdown and almost had to be driven back home in the middle of the night, but eventually she calmed down enough that the entire city of Roseville did not have to be put on time out.

Marith reports twelve paws!

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20 December 2014 - Saturday

Today it is time to go to Roseville! Fortunately Jus did not complain that she should get the headphones because the music was only for her the whole way. (Ta Baby was his usual cheerfully-shrieking self.) Ayse went up by herself, and Marith and Dave stayed home.

Everyone in Roseville is much as we left them, which is good!

No Ptolus for us, since we don't have Dave. But, we have Puerto Rico.

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19 December 2014 - Friday

I have most of next week off, so today is Ultra-Friday!

Also, Avalon smooches (over the Internet)!

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18 December 2014 - Thursday

No Avalon, she had her work holiday party. It sounds like it was not much fun. 8(

Ajin: Demi-Human (Tsuina Miura, Gamon Sakurai) is a little similar to Future Diary, in that it uses the technique of adding one fleck of strangeness to the normal world and watching all the horrifying implications crystallize around it. In this case, it's a small number of people (like, 1 in 100M) who don't stay dead when you kill them, and oddly correlated instances of people being torn apart by invisible monsters in broad daylight.

Written in Red (Anne Bishop) is set in an alternate world which is mostly inhabited by horrible monsters that start at casually-anthrophagous vampires and lycanthropes and get more terrifying from there. Despite this significant divergence, daily life for humans is a lot like modern Earth, and because werewolves appreciate modcons too, some humans are allowed to live on reservations in cognate-NA. The main character has escaped from the self-harming-precog ranch and, knowing very little about how to be human, ends up charming and slightly humanizing the terra indigenes in the process of humanizing herself. Also there are plots and schemes of various sorts to make her life harder, because being a PC sucks sometimes.

Twelve paws!

Anne BIshop! by Avalon (Fri Dec 19 19:08:51 2014)

I did not know she had something new out. I cannot really get into the Ephemera books but the Jewels ones were a big deal at home. =)

The party was not terrible but I never did get to sing karaoke, so I do not know if I would have been soulful and Rhianna like or gotten everyone channelling Queen.

Re: Anne Bishop! by Trip (Wed Dec 24 15:16:58 2014)

I like the "Others" series so far. It is not as very as the Black Jewel books, which is really okay by me.

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17 December 2014 - Wednesday

I must be enjoying running 13th Age, since after doing it, I think about it obsessively and want to do it more. However, next Wednesday is XE and the following Wednesday is NYE, and Dave and Mike are out for various intervals, so there's no telling when I'll get to do it again.

Whenever that is, I should probably try to wrap up this plotline, so the PCs can move on with their new enmities/alliances/relationship dice.

I'm not sure why I read all of Assault Troopers, Planet Strike, and Star Viking (Vaughn Heppner), because they just aren't very good. Not as frothingly right-wing as some, but full of aliens who are pointlessly stupid and humans who always succeed because they have Gumption.

At least I didn't pay money for them, since they were on Kindle Unlimited.

Into the Violet Vale is a short Numenera adventure, originally a con run so it has pregen characters and advice on timing to fit the whole thing into a four-hour slot. Like a lot of Numenera adventures, it's mostly a location full of bizarreness, although it does have a non-location-related goal the PCs must accomplish to get full marks XP.

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16 December 2014 - Tuesday

In corpspeek, "celebration" means "free food and schwag", so I guess we had a celebration at work today. I scored one of the Aster shirts handed out for my boss (who works far away) because I am a horrible suckup.

Hurray, I have Avalonsmooches!

Beyond All Worlds is a Numenera adventure, although it's mostly just a location since the goal is escape.

A billion years, and humans still suck.

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15 December 2014 - Monday

It seems like it should be Christmas, but it isn't. Hmph.

When Worlds Collide and Strange Creatures of the Ninth World are short guides to interconverting Numenera and The Strange. Since the systems are almost the same, only the menu items need to be addressed, and most of those are okay in either setting as well. In fact, I think I only have these because I got them free as part of The Strange Kickstarter, because even I could figure this stuff out.

Legion: Skin Deep (Brandon Sanderson) is a sequel to Legion, about a skill monster who paid for it all with imaginary friends and Public ID. There are hints that something is up with his friends, but of course nothing concrete.

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14 December 2014 - Sunday

No Immortal Empire , because gingerbread! There seemed to be more people than last year, but maybe that is because there was more stuff in the back room, compressing the crowd like an ideal gas composed of sugar and geekery.

Bonus Fading Suns, because everyone is unavailable next week due to holiday travel. We spent the whole session plotting and planning, which was necessary to avoid dying horribly, but not very action-oriented.

The Dark Spiral is a largish adventure for The Strange, featuring spoilers, spoilers, and more spoilers. It seems like it would work pretty well as a first major adventure for new but mobbed-up PCs, and the largest monster is nicely freaky.

Twelve paws, four of them with a sleeping respiratory rate of 16/minute.

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13 December 2014 - Saturday

The pilfered tradition of St Lucia's Day lives on!

Making cookies with a 5-year-old works about as well as you'd expect.

  • Chihayafuru 16: Recap episode, plus omake segments.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica 8-9: I don't understand why she doesn't find Kyubey's explanation of the greater good compelling.
  • Tiger & Bunny 17: Obviously she's stealing his powers.
  • Legend of Korra season II 12: Fewer superpowers = more Fate points!

The Strange Bestiary is exactly what it says on the tin: a bunch of alien critters and NPCs for The Strange. There are some standard creatures (vampires, Deep Ones) for the fiction-based recursions, quasi-Bablyonian creatures and grotesque biotech horrors for the two major recursions, and the incomprehensible things from the Strange.

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12 December 2014 - Friday

I had scheduled today off for doctor appointments, but the morning one was cancelled so I ended up working from home in the morning, very unproductively.

Marmalade's appointment was not cancelled, even though he assured me repeatedly that it was. It wasn't raining while I was lugging him, though, and the vet only listened to him, with no stabbing or anal penetration or anything terrible, so it was probably the best vet visit he's ever had.

However, in the realm of abstract reasoning and prediction, it was not so great. Marmalade's heart murmur has not gotten worse, but it hasn't gotten better, either, which means that it could blossom into heart failure at any time. In cats, this leads to build-up of fluid around the lungs and the obvious symptom of respiratory difficulties. If I notice Marmalade panting, then it's an emergency and I need to get him to the vet right away (this sounds like what happened to Hayama), but if I time his sleeping respiration every couple of days for the rest of his life, hopefully we can catch it before it reaches that point. Or, maybe his heart will be fine until he croaks from something completely different. No way to tell.

But for today: Twelve paws!

In volume 6 of A Bride's Story (Kaoru Mori), we learn that young adolescents desperately want to be treated like adults, and that you just can't trust people who do business with the Russians.

I don't know the technical definition of a light novel, but Zero Sight and Zero Sum (B Justin Shier) are somewhere in that space. A young man of mysterious talent is recruited to a secret school, the world is deeper and more horrifying than he ever expected, there's a love triangle with the cute girl-next-doorcontinent and exotic and terrifying beauty he is mysteriously drawn too, the world needs saving, etc. It's much the same genre as the "Academy" books (Zachary Rawlins), which may explain why I liked these ones too.

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11 December 2014 - Thursday

Yukarism is a new (over here) series by Chika Shiomi, the manga-ka who did Yurara and Rasetsu. So far there are no demons or ghosts, but a modern high school boy temporarily retroincarnated in a historical courtesan's body is pretty silly.

Twelve paws!

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10 December 2014 - Wednesday

Apparently there's supposed to be some huge storm hitting us tonight and lasting through at least Friday. Fortunately, I am not made of sugar and will not dissolve in the rain.

This time I gave people fights, and they seemed to like them. Benefits from icon relationship rolls were used liberally and not in ways that I had imagined, so I think we are really playing 13th Age, not just D&D with a new set of rules.

A lot of Cthulhoid stories have a town that has been taken over by a cult, but Lucky's Girl (William Holloway) shows how a town gets to be that way. Since I have always wondered what motivates the cultist who is about to be peeled like an onion, I liked it quite a bit. It is definitely not for the squeamish, though.

Someone on Tumblr listed a bunch of fantasy books with protagonists with disabilities, so I figured I should be supportive or something, and hey, Link+. The first one delivered up to me is Winterkill (Kate A Boorman), which is definitely AH (early 1800s, looks like) but only vaguely fantasy. It wasn't bad or anything, but the romance subplot seemed kind of meh. It would have been better if the protagonist had had the hots for <rot13>gur Svefg Crbcyrf tvey ng gur raq</rot13>.

Monte Cook's new game The Strange uses very close to the same system as Numenera, but is in the dimension-travelling intrigue subgenre. The eponymous "Strange" is an unfathomably vast and nonempty hyperspace that manifests in normal space as the dark energy driving the universe's expansion. Pocket dimensions ("recursions") naturally spawn in the Strange near inhabited worlds as a result of leaking ideas, though there are many other life-cycle options for recursions. There are at least three standard ways to get between recursions or to/from the prime world, with different implications for what you arrive as; the PCs can do it with the power of their brains alone, which makes them hot commodities among the conspiracies that are aware of the Strange. Adventure ensues!

I am still not sure about the Cypher System, although I am definitely down with the idea of awarding XP for what the PCs are supposed to be doing ("Explore. Defend. Create."), and I did read the setting parts of the book pretty much straight through.

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9 December 2014 - Tuesday

Huh, I have no library books to take back. Is this really Tuesday?

Oh, it's Avalonhuggingday! That's a good one!

I have liked many of the pictures in previous years, but a lot of Spectrum 21 (ed John Fleskes) left me unmoved. I think I may be being left behind by SF art. Or I just have no taste.

Monster (Carmen Caine) is not-very-good paranormal romance.

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8 December 2014 - Monday

You'd think not staying out until all hours gaming on Sunday night would make Monday more pleasant, and yet...

Unsurprisingly, The Book of Cthulhu 2 (ed Ross Lockhart) is another anthology of Cthulhoid short fiction. Several of the stories I had read before, and none of them really wowed me.

The Shoggoth Conspiracy (David Conyers, John Sunseri, David Kernot) is also a collection of Cthulhoid stories, but mostly by one author (with cowriters on a couple). They are like "A Colder War" played straight, with the heroic Aussie spy fighting Mythos threats all over the world and beyond. I'm not sure about the portrayal of shoggoths, but Azathoth is handled interestingly.

Twelve paws trying to help me chat with Avalon!

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7 December 2014 - Sunday

I managed to do many of the errands that I didn't do yesterday, although my apartment is still terrible. At least the Link+ Ninjas will not be coming for me.

I was merely blocks away from finishing my long trek to Beep House for Fading Suns when Ken called to let me know that Bryn was exploding of digestive woes and there would be no gaming. Bah! But I was so close I went anyway, to scrounge leftovers and, as it turned out, play Lords of Waterdeep (didn't win) Red Dragon Inn (did win, because Fiona the Volatile is cutest). I feel that my travel time was well-spent.

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6 December 2014 - Saturday

No more iPad art class. No more brain. Blblblbl.

Ken is at a party somewhere, so we didn't watch Tiger & Bunny, but Ayse didn't want to watch any Madoka without something to restore SAN afterwards, so we did not have a very diverse anime night.

Dave records which episode of each series to watch as tiny hash marks, which saves on storage space but may introduce errors...

  • Chihayafuru 14-15, 13: Nationals! The reigning queen of karuta is a worthy opponent, and also a Shadowrun character origin. But am I the only one who thinks it's weird that the girl interested in traditional Japanese clothing is the one with a figure?
  • Legend of Korra season II 9-11: Apparently the core message of children's media is, "Always negotiate with terrorists". Or maybe it's, "It doesn't matter what happens to your loved ones as long as you die too so that you don't have to live with it".

Twelve paws!

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5 December 2014 - Friday

Eventually it will be Friday.

Hey, wait! Today is Friday! And Avalon! My tiny little brain and I have made it!

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer (Satoshi Mizukami) is weird shounen action (ish) with nihilistic philosophy and a lizard.

Twelve paws!

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4 December 2014 - Thursday

Ugh, gaming too late.

The Vault of Dreamers (Caragh M O'Brien) talks about dreams a lot, but is really SF. It's not futuristic enough for how far in the future it's supposed to be, though, I don't think. Cell phone technology must march onward! I'm also not sure there's enough feedback from the characters being on camera 24/7.

Symbiont (Mira Grant) was going to be the conclusion of a duology, but apparently the story mutated and grew and chewed its way into different parts of the author's brain and there will have to be another book next year for the final fate of humanity and the [SPOILER] zombies.

The important lesson of this book: not being an asshole about pronouns with a transgendered person could save you from a deathtrap.

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3 December 2014 - Wednesday

Today I ran 13th Age and it was not completely horrible. I think. However, it wasn't great, because no PCs were harmed in the making of this episode and apparently people wanted a fight. Fights next week, for sure!

I guess that means I should prep for next week, huh?

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2 December 2014 - Tuesday

La la la work.

Asura Girl (Outarou Maijou) is obviously art, because it's stream of consciousness about man's* inhumanity to man*. I have no artistic sensibilities, or maybe I'm just American.

*Where by "man" we mean "schoolkid".

The Weight of Stars (Tessa Gratton) is a collection of three novellas in the "United States of Asgard" setting:

  • "Gold Runner", dedicated "for all the girls who love themselves"
  • "Lady Berserk", "for all the girls with dragons in their hearts"
  • "Glory's Teeth", "for all the girls who hunger"

Some of the characters were previously seen in The Lost Sun and The Strange Maid; all of them are awesome and/or terrifying.

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1 December 2014 - Monday

Long weekends are much better than full work weeks.

At last, Velveteen vs The Multiverse (Seanan McGuire) is out! Hurray!

There is one line from the appendix in Velveteen vs The Junior Super-Patriots that I wish had been followed up on, but it was over-the-top enough without that I can't complain. I do wish the big bad had been slightly different, but this was was more genre-appropriate.

I appreciate pictures of naked cuties as much as anyone*, but the art in The Future of Erotic Fantasy Art (Paul Peart-Smith) is just not very good. It's mostly semi-skilled Poser work, with only a few pieces that approach professional quality.

*Well, okay, probably I'm actually somewhere around the median, but you know what I mean.

Twelve paws!

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