Previously, in Trip's Life...

28 September 2015 - Monday

I have spent the past week working from home, and packing, and then packing some more, and staring blankly at Tumblr, and packing even more, and moving, and being useless. There is still a whole bunch of stuff at the old place that has to be thrown out, and a lesser amount that needs to be gathered up and transferred, but I am living in the new place, and so are the cats, and we have Internet.

moving by marithlizard (Tue Sep 29 14:39:22 2015)

  1. Are you in the new place? YES
  2. Are your cats in the new place? YES
  3. Is your stuff in the new place? YES
  4. Do you have Internet? YES
  5. Are you already so unhappy with the new place that you want to move out? NO
  6. Result: TRIUMPH!

Re: moving by Trip (Wed Sep 30 08:38:20 2015)

Well, #5 was looking closer when the toilet flooded, but it was wrestled back under control. #3 is almost entirely true since Ken helped me cart stuff last night. #2 is definitely true, since I have seen them the both at once. (Aspen's current hiding place is on the bottom shelf of a bookcase in the livingroom, behind a stack of shelves.) So I guess #6 must be true!

Yay moved! by Avalon (Wed Sep 30 19:53:10 2015)

and I will be there SATURDAY

Re: Yay moved! by Trip (Wed Sep 30 22:06:38 2015)

Augh! What do I do with a girlfriend in my apartment?!

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17 September 2015 - Thursday

I went over to the apartment I am considering in downtown Willow Glen and Ayse very nicely came over with me to see if it made her scream in terror. It did not, and she told me ways in which the location is even better than it originally seemed, so I coughed up a deposit and now I have a new apartment, as of tomorrow week.


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16 September 2015 - Wednesday

Without Marmalade, I could fling myself into a deep pit and expire of lamneness. Except Ghirardelli and Aspen need gooshyfood.

Still no Jacob for us! With his new job in SF, there is no way he can reasonably make it down to SJ in time for 13th Age. Perhaps if he still remembers us at some future time when he is more established and feels he can skate early from work, he will return. Ken has friends he could rope in, but Wednesday is worst for them and best for Mike, while Thursday is vice-versa. Tuesday is mediocre for everyone.

Of the remaining plot threads, the one that seems most tractable is investigating the Gatekeeper's origins in Anvil, so our heroes make their way to Glitterhagen, city of commerce. They are promptly dragged into the zombie tulip bubble, but more importantly, they encounter an orcish diplomat they previously met at the Court of Stars, who informs them that they have gained the Orc Lord's favor and will be entitled to wear these badges made out of pixie skulls. Furthermore, the Orc Lord would like them to stay in his favor by assassinating the general of the Red Banner Horde, which has ignored orders to go haring off after some band of adventurers who have discovered how to control the Stone Thief. The Red Banner Horde is currently besieging Anvil, because they believe their targets are headed there.

The PCs have no real interest in helping the Orc Lord and can't agree on whether trying to use the renegade general is worthwhile, so they arrange for the pixie skull with a tracking spell to be stolen, and just go to Anvil to do what they planned to do to begin with. Some orcs get in the way but are beat down, with difficulty. Nearby, some other orcs are getting beat down by the evil adventuring party Bardic Thünder, who we might get to interact with more next session.

Renegade: The Spiral Wars (Joel Shepherd) is military SF that doesn't break the genre, but I stayed up late reading it. The nature of the conspiracy is interesting, the space Marine is terrifying yet not perfect, the xeno-linguistics research is classified, and the jump drives are straight out of Cherryh. There is stealth in space, but at least it's limited. I am looking forward to the next book.

No Flinging! by marithlizard (Thu Sep 24 09:55:38 2015)

Although it is true that moving makes most people want to hide in a deep pit. You can hide under this rock with me if you want.

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15 September 2015 - Tuesday

With no cat who needs careful feeding and twice-daily injections, I could travel. I could even try going to Orycon again.

I submitted an application for the apartment that is right next to downtown Willow Glen, since it was only $25 to learn the shape of my doom.

I never knew, but there are short "Young Wizards" pieces by Diane Duane, set between A Wizard of Mars and the upcoming tenth book! Not On My Patch (Halloween special) How Lovely Are Thy Branches (Christmas special with bonus tree-like alien) are actually short, but Lifeboats is pretty long. I'm not sure it's completely consistent with what has been established as the power level of wizards in previous books, but whatever. It has tentacle guys and also Kit freaking out about having a girlfriend!

I have no idea if the world in Updraft (Fran Wilde) is supposed to be our world post-apocalypse or what, but it definitely has history, probably including an apocalypse. However, that is not what the book is about. It is about human-powered flight and invisible sky monsters and knowledge-controlling dystopia and not really at all about romance.

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13 September 2015 - Sunday

Without a string-eating cat, I could do something with the pretty Megatokyo blanket Marith got me. But I would still rather have Marmalade.

The PAD&D5 field researchers avoid fighting with Hope the knowledge-destroyer chosen of Apollo and make it into Shade Town, which has many kobold gangsters (alleged), many halfling gangsters (alleged), a shiny temple to Apollo, and lewd puppet shows. As they pass the temple of Apollo, a sacrifical bull breaks loose and charges The Frederick (accursed of the gods), who has only limited success in wrestling down something larger than his ego and filled with divine power. With the help of the rest of the party, though, the bull is subdued without excessive bloodletting, and the only major casualty is the very symbolic pole of the temple. However, the omens are clearly very bad.

The priests of Apollo pass the researchers on to the king of Shade Town, Thaddeus, who is glad to tell them about his problem: 27 years ago, his first wife and daughter died in childbirth, but he saw the midwife disappear into shadows and darkness with a living child and subsequently found out that all her references were fake. (Divination indicates that he has one daughter, who is dead, but Zach knows that things can be hidden from the gods, so the obvious conclusion is that the Deathless Assassins stole the princess away to the Invisible Mountain.) Since first-born children a big deal to kings, the missing princess (who most people believe never existed) causes a great deal of stress in the royal family, especially for Prince Malpe, who Zach discovers is being blackmailed by the proprietess of Madame Elizabeth's Home for Wayward Girls, provider of high-class arm candy to notable citizens of Shade Town.

No one ever got anywhere in academia by respecting private property, so Ella, Dain, and The Frederick burgle the Home and find, behind a lead-backed painting, a magic communication mirror based on the same kind of dragonscale crafting as the scales of communication pillaged from the kobolds back in the first adventure. They steal it but Veronica, last seen on Prince Malpe's arm on his first appearance, shows up and starts tracking them by smell while Frinka and Zach shadow her. After some comedic chasing around the city, Zach gets back to his room in the castle just in time for Veronica to bust in on him and demand the mirror back so she doesn't get in trouble for being a poor guard and he doesn't get in trouble with Madame Elizabeth. Negotiations go poorly, and she turns into a tiger to maul him but is scared off when he yells, "Random unprovoked weretiger attack!" in the well-guarded castle.

The protagonist of Serpentine (Cindy Pon) has reached that stage in life where her body starts undergoing disturbing changes and giving her weird urges, only some of them related to cute martial artist from the nearby monastery. Also the rich girl she is handmaid to has decided to throw everything away for socially unacceptable love, and demons are stalking the countryside. It's awesome!

Ninja Slayer Kills! (Koutarou Sekine) has no redeeming qualities.

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12 September 2015 - Saturday

I still automatically manage my towels so that no string-eating cats will savage them.

Instead of relaxing, I looked at apartments more. One is small and not super-nice and had another person there looking at it at the same time, but is one block from downtown Willow Glen (and there is a bus that runs from that corner to the train station) and is about $500 cheaper than all the other 2BR apartments in the area. Another is in an apartment complex that looks nice but is in such a wasteland of sketchy housing and no decent shopping that I didn't even look at the apartment itself. (It later turned out that it's only a mile from the Alameda on the other side, but meh.) Another never wrote me back about a time to look at it, so meh to them too.

Apartments are hard.

After weeks of not anime, anime! Also, eggplant.

  • Silver Spoon 1-2: Livestock 183, city boy 0!
  • Whispered Words 3: Oh, the doom of pantsfeelings.
  • Dennou Coil 4: I guess if you're not going with it, this series is pretty silly.
  • Legend of Korra 3.3-3.4: I guess it's an American kid's show, so actually killing slavers would be over the top. But very tempting.

We ended a bit early, so Dave showed us the pilot of Steven Universe. As Marith said, "That certainly was a thing". None of us could figure out why the Internets is so abuzz about it.

The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith vol 2 is pretty similar to vol 1 in its mix of stories: some Averoigne, some space travel, some what we now think of as fantasy.

Volume 2 of The Ancient Magus' Bride (Kore Yamazaki) is out, so I reread from the beginning. Ah, there's some doom! And not just the doom that came to Ulthar, although that is explicated too. Being a sleigh beggy does not seem very likely to be hereditary.

Apparently the Renaissance fantasy that was popular a few years ago has been declared Mined Out, and now the big thing is flintlock fantasy. Cold Iron (Stina Leicht) is elves (not by name) vs humans, where the humans seem to have Roman social structure with cannon and smallpox vaccinations, while the elves have a more traditional feudal society with specialized magic, blood taboo, and an unwarrantedly high opinion of themselves. Naturally, the main characters on the elven side want to lose the traditions that are just getting everyone killed, and everyone else wants to fight for scraps. There are no viewpoint humans yet, but there might be in later books.

Steven Universe by marithlizard (Tue Sep 15 22:44:36 2015)

We should probably watch at least a couple more episodes before declaring that we are truly baffled by its appeal. I am remembering the pilots of B5 and Buffy(well, movie) now.

Re: Steven Universe by Trip (Wed Sep 16 10:04:03 2015)

That's fair. If the regular episodes are that length, then we can watch one every time we manage to not be behind schedule, until we feel we can form a proper judgment.

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10 September 2015 - Thursday

I don't know why I didn't do this before, but I put pictures on the headstone pages for Benny and Dani as well as Marmalade. I hadn't realized that it has been eight years since I last lost a cat. I guess that explains why I so rarely think about them. 8(

Avalon has a new job! (Actually she started yesterday, but I didn't report it because I was kind of busy.) It is prestigious and generally awesome and it sounds like they will appreciate her much more than the horrible dying corporation of suckweaselry did, but I don't know how much I should say about it.

I looked at an apartment, which is quite nice, and only a couple of blocks from a light rail station, but has a limit of two pets and charges extra rent for each pet. It is true that I only have two cats now, but I am pretty sure that sometime soon I will switch from wanting another cat because I want Marmalade back to wanting another cat for their own sake (and for Ghirardelli and Aspen to play with). Bah!

I forgot to list one "World of Adventure for Fate Core" earlier: Save Game. Since I have never played any video games in my life, especially not during the 80s and 90s, I can't really appreciate this one, but I bet other people really like it.

CONGRATULATIONS AVALON by marithlizard (Tue Sep 15 22:45:16 2015)

That is awesome! I hope your new job is at least 50% more fun and 200% less dysfunctional than the old one!

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9 September 2015 - Wednesday

I have been giving Ghirardelli extra loves, and even inflicted my scritchins on Aspen, but my apartment still seems very empty.

13th Age was delayed by traffic, but there was time to discover that people investigating the various bits of architecture barfed forth from the Stone Thief have been going missing. Using Ktangs' as bait, Anwë determines that the problem is wights, so Ktangs' summons the master wight and grills him until a fight breaks out. The master wight and his four wight/ghoul/yucky bodyguards nearly do us in, but somehow we manage to pull out a victory and some information about the innards of the Stone Thief.

Having no cleric makes fights a lot harder! However, even if we find a replacement for Jacob, we will not force them to play a cleric. Not even if it's Sherilyn.

In The Darkside War (Zachary Brown), evil colonialist aliens invade Earth and draft humans to fight their war against even more inimical aliens. The protagonist and his friends distinguish themselves when everything goes horribly wrong at boot camp on lunar farside, setting things up for the succeeding books in which human units will turn the tide of the war and save everything (I predict). Unfortunately, most of the aliens who have speaking parts are not very alien, and the colonialism is very human.

The Dangerous Type (Loren Rhoads) also features humans in a subordinate position among aliens, although in this case it's because the humans had an empire and used it to act like assholes until everyone else was done with their shit. But that is backstory to the tale of the best assassin after she gets out of being entombed alive for twenty years and has to deal with the obssessive psychopath who trained her, despite the best efforts of the various people who were in love with her and may or may not have been obssessing for the past twenty years in a slightly less murderous fashion. The world-building is about on par with Star Wars, because it is 100% about the self-destructive feels and 0% about the space.

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8 September 2015 - Tuesday


24th August 2001 -- 8th September 2015

He Will Always Be Missed

Marmalade by Cat (Tue Sep 8 20:08:43 2015)

Missed indeed. hugs

Marmalade by marithlizard (Wed Sep 9 08:49:14 2015)

Splendid orange cat
Chases string eternal now
He will never tire

Haiku by Trip (Wed Sep 9 12:02:35 2015)

This made me cry at work. I wish there were an afterlife.

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6 September 2015 - Sunday

Cat very nicely agreed to check in on the cats and make sure Marmalade got appropriate feeding and injections, so I trundled to Roseville with people. There was food (I ate it). There was Lords of Waterdeep plus Scoundrels of Skullport (I lost massively). There was swimming, which Jus is really getting good at (I was too lazy to participate).

There was Pathfinder, which is way too complicated and full of untested combinations, as all D&D variants become after a few years of Marketing. Publishing rules instead of a system keeps the next quarter's cash flowing, after all.

I made a half-orc terra-cotta monk (not made of actual terra-cotta, just kind of earth-aspected), which is probably the second or third worst possible choice, especially since the first adventure of the pseudo-Egyptian adventure path involved several things that were immune to weapons, had high DR, or just had a high AC, but we somehow managed to win through and not show an overwhelming amount of disrespect for the dead. Dave made an alchemist, which may be even worse at combat, but Kate and Sherilyn made a mother-and-daughter team of cleric and inquisitor, which are pretty valid classes, and Ken made an archer paladin, which also seemed to work well.

Evil Hat has been using their Patreon to fund what they call Worlds of Adventure, which are little setting books with one short sample adventure.

  • Masters of Umdaar: Does "Umdaar" sound like "Thundaar"? Well, then! This has your sorcery, your superscience, your wizards ruling with ancient artifacts in iron fists, your wolves with laser tails, ...
  • The Aether Sea: Roughly similar to Spelljammer but with the serial numbers and the endless arbitrary mechanics filed off.
  • Psychedemia: Psionic teenagers are recruited for a secret school in a classified system where they will be trained as the secret weapons in the war against the incomprehensible alien menaces. Not all is as it seems.
  • Eagle Eyes: The Senate's secret investigators in the seedy noir underbelly of Rome. Murder, corruption, dark secrets, and probably femmes fatale.
  • Sails Full of Stars: C19 naval combat in space with alchemy, limited to the Solar System, with a three-way struggle between the Chinese empire, the Ottoman empire, and French-conquered Europe for territory and ancient Martian artifacts.
  • Gods and Monsters: Actual mythic roleplaying: start with a world divided into a handful of iconic regions, and let your divine characters rampage around modifying them, ruling them, becoming attached to their inhabitants, and establishing how crows become white and why the sun rises in the north. Use too much divine power without enough attachment to the world and you become an NPC monster.
  • Romance in the Air: Ewardian hijinks aboard an airship touring an alternate but equally fragile Europe. There could be any or all of sight-seeing, games of chance, aeroplane duels, espionage, invention, and matrimony.
  • Nest: Years after returning from your childhood adventures in a magical land, you are pulled back in. What is wrong with Nest, and are your adult skills what the land needs now?
  • Venture City Stories: Cyberpunk, or at least corporate-owned, supers. Includes very basic rules for superpowers in FATE.
  • The Secrets of Cats: Cats protecting humans from magical terrors in the night is not a new idea, but, cats! This is not nearly as dark as the Gaiman story, fortunately.

I find Umdaar and Gods and Monsters the most interesting, but any of them could be entertaining for at least a few sessions.

Wolves (Simon Ings) may technically be science fiction, but mostly it's about one guy's squalidly British life in squalidly decaying Britain.

The Copper Gauntlet (Holly Black, Cassandra Clare) is the second in the series about the magical school that is not Hogwarts, and the kid who is not the prophesied righter of all wrongs. That kid's existing predicament does not get fixed in this book, but he may understand it better and have more allies.

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2 September 2015 - Wednesday

Monday, I worked from home so that I would not cough on my cow orkers, and so I could easily do the shopping I hadn't done over the weekend. Tuesday, I was at a customer site in downtown Mountain View all day. Wednesday, I had to do a thing to a customer at 7:00 so I did it from home and didn't get in to the office until lunch time. My schedule is so confused. At least I'm not coughing as much any more, although I am still stupid and sleepy.

Although Anwë scored the killing blows on the three major opponents in the two fights that it took to escape from the Stone Thief, overall she was completely useless because I am the worst player ever. Okay, not ever, but the worst player anyone would actually game with. Also I cannot talk, which makes gaming kind of pointless. Maybe I should stick to losing horribly at board games.

The first collection of Clark Ashton Smith's fantasies was only two bucks through Night Shade Books, so I picked it up even though his Cthulhu Mythos stories had not been that impressive, and indeed, these were much better. They are still products of their time in all sorts of ways, but there's always room for more creepy strangeness and doom.

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