Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 March 2016 - Thursday

This week, we had Kelsey for 13th Age but not Grant. Continuity, who needs it? Broccolini pasta is better than continuity any day. Demon minions and Imperial wedding invitations, not so much.

The PCs successfully rescued an apparently random magistrate from the southern empire from the second room of the hellclam tower, then used magic to suborn the lever-puller in the third room and made friends with the Pearlkeeper (another wall face). After a long rest, they use one of the levers to get to the Gizzard, which is practically out of the dungeon. One of their nemeses, the orcish General Gul, has taken over the orcs of the Gizzard since the Stone Thief ate her horde, and is working with the new or restored Architect. Somehow, the PCs get the Architect to hand over a large gemstone, ostensibly as a wedding present for the Emperor, and the orcish assassins to escort them out of the dungeon, but as soon as they slip away, they head for the Gatekeeper to try putting him in the gem and carrying him back to the dwarven kingdom.


Last day of the month, so time to total up writing. Looks like I made 55% over my new improved quota, if you count horrible writing at face value. I'm not sure whether to increase my quota to 200 per day, or leave it as-is and see if I can avoid failure two months in a row.


New manga! Meh.

Nichijou (Keiichi Arawi) seems to be in kind of the same space as Azumanga Daioh but without the punch lines every fourth panel or comprehensible references or anything else that made me like AD.

"Hapless teenage boy breaks the seal established by older and wiser Shinto priests, releasing the hot female kami" is a well-established shounen anime subgenre. Maga-Tsuki (Hoshino Taguchi) only adds the twist that the boy and goddess must remain in physical contact or he keels over dead and has to be kissed back to life, which isn't any more of an annoyance to the girl next door than any other variant.


Your Whispering Homunculus and More Whispering Homunculus are full of tables for adding color and strangeness to a D&D-type setting: 20 crazy contests or dares villagers might challenge a PC to, 12 obsessive collectors and the creepy things they collect, 50 weird entertainers, 20 bizarre local religious festivals, 100 strange shops, 20 village idiots, 10 things to spice up an encounter on snowy city streets. There are also a few variant monsters and random stuff like that. Nominally it is all for Pathfinder, but the flavor is a lot more like the fake English countryside of D&D0.


No Time Like The Past and What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (Jodi Taylor) are the fifth and sixth in the "Chronicles of St Mary's" time-travel comedy/adventure/romance, and follow the pattern of Max getting into trouble in the past because the past was horrible, and also St Mary's being in trouble becaus time travel is perilous. Also, silliness.

People (well, jerkfaces, but they're technically people, I guess) like to dismiss books with competent female characters as Mary Sues, but I see self-insertion power fantasies much more with male characters. For example, Life With A Fire-Breathing Girlfriend, The Land Beyond All Dreams, and Dragon's Luck (Bryan Fields). They aren't terrible (although oddly the second one is the best), but they are definitely what they are.

Dead Man's Debt (Elliott Kay) is the third but not final book in the series that started with Poor Man's Fight and Rich Man's War, in which a corporation goes to war with an entire solar system over student loan terms. In this volume: more heroism (or war crimes, depending on whose news you listen to), and a novel method of reining in corporate power.

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27 March 2016 - Sunday

No gaming, because Earl's brain is empty, but ham, because it's Cosmic Jewish Zombie Day! Also deviled eggs and not enough glazed shallots. (There should always be more glazed shallots.) Earl and Cat were in attendance, because eating food is much easier than GMing for lunatics. Much fun was had, except when the kids were trying to murderize each other. Maybe even then.

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26 March 2016 - Saturday

Aspen and Ghirardelli were most alarmed by the strange humans in their apartment, but I appreciate things being cleaner even if the cats might not.


In terms of word count, this was my best writing day so far this year. Also I started the supermythos piece over really from scratch, or perhaps it counts as a completely different piece now, and it is infinitesimally less horrible. Wheeee.


Nonni and Jus each wanted to dye all the eggs, but by definition that doesn't work, even if other people didn't want some too. In the end, though, all of the eggs were colorful and none were broken beyond usability, which is probably the most that can be hoped for.

Jus and Ken made me a parasite-friendly chocolate cream pie, although the singing did not happen until after the kids were in bed. Yum.


  • Brother, Dear Brother 20: Apparently Japan in the 1970s didn't have fire safety regulations. However, they did have Prince Kaoru, so the day could be saved.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 7: If only the politicians understood what's at stake, NERV wouldn't have to jump through so many hoops to get funding.
  • Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth 9: Poor Camille. But I am glad Claude has a proper love interest.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.1-2: I wonder if this show will become sufficiently plot-oriented for Matoba to get crushed as he so rightfully deserves this season?
  • Steven Universe 30: "Use your fish-murdering skills, Sadie!" But I may have to reconsider whether Lars and Sadie deserve each other.

I normally like monster books, even Pathfinder, but Monsters of Porphyra was meh. None of the monsters seemed particularly unusual. Maybe all the possible monsters have already been statted up.


I really liked volume 1 of Mysterious Girlfriend X (Riichi Ueshiba) even though a saliva-based bond is kind of gross, or at least unsanitary. But really, not more unsanitary than kissing, and definitely more surreal, and the leads seem to actually like each other even though the female lead is terrible at communicating with speech or body language. I don't think it's the kind of manga in which she will turn out to actually be an alien, but if I were not so meta, I would strongly suspect it.

In the first volume of N0t Lives (Wataru Karasuma), the male lead ends up with a female avatar in the altered-space superpowered fights/live-action video game, but it is not that interesting.


Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free (Randy Henderson) is the sequel to Finn Fancy Necromancy, in which a hapless necromancer from the 1980s is trapped in limbo for 25 years and must deal with the 21st century and also evil. In this book, he is a little more acclimated , but still not very comfortable, and there is plenty more evil (including institutionalized racism on a variety of levels). Also, best duel ever.

In Carpet Diem (Justin Lee Anderson), the fate of the world hinges on one reclusive British bachelor's living-room rug. Also angels, demons, oracles, monsters, witches, American punk girls, and possibly true love.

Hell's Super (Mark Cain) is about the poor schmoe who gets stuck doing all of Hell's maintenance, because he hates and is not very good at it. (What part of "eternal torment" did you not understand?) This goes about as well as you would expect, even with Florence Nightingale involved. It is the first of a series, with some hints that the main character may end up changing or at least escaping the Heaven/Hell cosmology.

Dreambound (Sena Bryer) is I guess OEL light novels, about a hapless guy trapped in a direct-neural-interface MMORPG as a tiny cute elven priestess. Unlike Sword Art Online, Something is clearly Up, both in/with the game and outside it. Also the protagonist's roommate (who is responsible for the protagonist's plight and possibly the whole mess) is an entire swarm of Evil Bees all by himself, and needs to be stabbed IRL. However, this has not happened after three volumes.

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24 March 2016 - Thursday

Now that I have an apartment that is conveniently located with respect to both work and friends, Ayse and Ken and Dave are trying to move further away from me again! Maybe I should move to Portland and hide in a pit forever.


Hurray, Ethiopian food! I ate some goop that wasn't too spicy and about thirty-leven pounds of injera.

Still no Kelsey, but we had Grant, so we were able to play 13th Age. Despite the interference of giant stone hands, we kept the Stone Thief from eating Hell and even closed the portal for good. Somehow, we adopted the imp instead of killing it, but I'm sure its time will come. Then we started exploring a submerged but dry tower, which is slowly filling with water as we fight the hellclams in search of a large gemstone that we can use to carry our buddy the earth elemental out of the dungeon.

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23 March 2016 - Wednesday

When I got to work this morning, there were no electrons. Fortunately our office manager, who can do anything, can also make PG&E stop sucking.


I quite like this alternate damage system for Dungeon World. But, not enough gamers.


Still not happy with the supermythos story. I think I need to discard it and start over again, from even earlier. (Who could have guessed that just leaping right in might not work out perfectly?) Possibly I need a different protagonist, since the point of young supers is getting their powers, and second-generation catgirls are sort of born with theirs. Or are they? Hm. Even so, I see why Please Don't Tell My Parents... and Legion of Nothing as well as many other supers stories have gadgeteers as protagonists: building tools is a fundamental human activity, so gadgeteers can be more relatable to the baseline human reader. Hm hm.

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22 March 2016 - Tuesday

I am not happy with this supermythos story. It needs to be more something. Chipper? Slangy? Chatty? Genki? Maybe I need to give Nef less tragic backstory. Maybe I need to not let Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain influence me to write middle-school superheroes. Maybe I need to learn to write.

Putting someone who can smell physical reactions into a school full of 13-year-old boys leads inevitably to awkwardness, although I'm not sure if this is good or bad.

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21 March 2016 - Monday

How have I not crumbled into dust from sheer decrepitude by now?


For my birthday, I did a bunch of work and then reached my writing quota for the month. So um go me?


The more Pathfinder material I read, the less I like the system. It makes me long for the elegance and simplicity of Hero. But, I like setting and fantastical bits, so after reading So uthlands, I figured I should read Midgard and see where all the references point. It is pretty good for a D&D world, with many abandoned, devastated, or otherwise adventurous locations to put dungeons, and the full range of mortal perfidy on display in the civilized regions. It is thematically Europe of an unspecified time, with Viking raiders to the north, dwarven cantons in the middle, warring city-states in the sourth, and the Ottodragon Empire to the southeast. Plus, kobolds!

Birthday by Avalon (Tue Mar 22 18:08:23 2016)

Oh HAPPY HAPPY day that you were born!

belated but sincere by marithlizard (Tue Mar 22 21:03:11 2016)

Happy TripDay to you! Happy TripDay to you! Happy TripDay dear Best Trip there's no escaping the hugs so don't even try, Happy TripDay to you!

Re: Birthday by Trip (Wed Mar 23 10:31:31 2016)

Meep!

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20 March 2016 - Sunday

Ken brought Jus and Nonni over to admire my cats, which they did with great enthusiasm. More enthusiasm than the cats were entirely comfortable with, but well-meant. Nonni was confused that I have no toys, but then they discovered the pile of plush animals.


Ken's immune system made him take his children away early enough that I could get brunch at Bill's, although I did not discover they have sugar-free syrup until too late. Next time, for sure!


It's all still horrible, but there's a new chapter of horrible writing. I know what to write next on the supermythos thing (more public humiliation!) but took a nap instead of writing it.

Soon, I will have made my quota for March! Unless I die in a pit first.


Avalon is still my girlfriend, and the other people in her system have not grounded her to prevent her from dating someone unsuitable.

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19 March 2016 - Saturday

I successfully did shopping and ate popcorn chicken, but did not do any writing because I had to play Choco Cat Chase instead.


  • Brother, Dear Brother 19: No, Nanako, do not lie to your friends! But you would hardly be an anime character if you said things that were true instead of things that you thought people wanted to hear.
  • The Cat Returns: Bonus points for depicting the Kingdom of the Cats as not entirely a positive thing, although really it would probably be fine if they got rid of the antiquated monarchy.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 6: Still no Asuka, but Rei and Shinji are bonding. Also, Misato is actually competent!

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17 March 2016 - Thursday

The new company across the way, Overplay, had an office-warming/St Patrick's Day party, but none of the really party-centric Arcadians were in the Campbell office today, so we were only there for a few minutes. I'm sure they think we're terribly antisocial.


Gaming failure. Kelsey and Grant didn't make it, so Mike forced us to play Castles of Mad King Ludwig. My castle had many outdoor rooms, which got me a small number of bonus points, but mostly I was terrible at this game, as I am at all board games games activities. Then I had to walk home, because CoMKL has a special phase that allows one player per round to dither eternally and without end.


Dragon • Princess, Dragon • Thief, and Dragon • Wizard (S Andrew Swann) are about a mediocre fantasy thief who gets transferred into the body of a princess in a freak magical accident (the princess ends up in the body of a dragon, which she appreciates much more). It is not that kind of fantasy. It is humorous fantasy, but not in the tone of early Terry Pratchett. Wizards are strange and alarming, elves are totally willing to make deals and keep them to the letter, and dragons can destroy towns. On the other hand, sometimes dragons have gambling problems, and sometimes people sacrifice virgins to dark gods.

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16 March 2016 - Wednesday

Writing failure. Boyfriend failure. Everything failure.

no! by marithlizard (Thu Mar 17 10:22:52 2016)

Hug success, brother success, friend success, and cat-minion success, at the very least.

Re: no! by Trip (Thu Mar 17 13:50:52 2016)

No way, Ghirardelli wanted to play Choco Cat Chase many more times than we actually did.

Re: re: no! by marithlizard (Thu Mar 17 21:07:15 2016)

Well, now you know your next objective!

Re: re: re: no! by Trip (Tue Mar 22 09:23:47 2016)

I'm not sure anyone can play that much Choco Cat Chase.

Failure by Avalon (Tue Mar 22 18:09:11 2016)

That was not failure. =) XOXOXOX! O! XX!

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15 March 2016 - Tuesday

I rewrote the supermythos piece, and dislike it less, but it's still pretty horrible.


Southlands: Adventures in the Pitiless Sun is Kobold Quarterly's fantasy-Africa expansion for the fantasy-Europe of their Midgard setting for Pathfinder. There is definitely a lot of it, since it does cover an entire continent in some detail (this is definitely a book for GMs, not players). The similarity to real Africa is limited (desert across the top, jungle in the middle, pyramids in the upper right), but then the real Africa's history has a lamentable shortage of minotaurs, interdimensional portals, and elementals. (Also a shortage of dragon invasions and Great Old Ones, which is perhaps not so lamentable.) There is adventure everywhere, and unusual threats to life and limb, and what more can you ask for?

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14 March 2016 - Monday

Look, it's Π day! Also my youngest brother's birthday, unless he's died and no one told me (unlikely).


Today I did some work, made Avalon very upset with me, and did some writing. One of these things is not like the others.

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13 March 2016 - Sunday

Still no Deirdre for PAD&D5: apparently she is recovering from having her elbow bolted back together. Escalator bites are even nastier than I thought!

The remaining frogs attempt to wreak a terrible revenge by flooding their conquered headquarters with a mighty wave more than 30 centimeters high. This does not avail them, but the water continues to rise, so the PCs pile into the Apparatus of Kwalish and scuttle away. Somewhere in here, Zach and Ella trick The Frederick into letting go of the bag of captured frogs, so Ella can use lesser restoration on their leaders to unravel the network of Titanware and return them all to their natural state.

Since the goal of exploration is to find a way to get the escaped thralls out of the dungeon, the PCs trundle downriver and find the way to the ocean. They also find remora-mermaids riding a giant shark, who explain about the perfidious elven warlock of the Great Old Ones who knocked up their queen with an abominable tentacular offspring (now exiled to the swamp on the island) and made all elves persona non grata in the local waters. Zach is able to use differential lighting to keep himself and the Frederick from being identified as perfidious elvenkind, and the PCs go back upstream to the thralls and giant prisoners.

Ella puts her graduate-level coursework in maximizing the effect of ritual casting to good use and gets all the escaped thralls enchanted with water breathing in the minimum possible time. Then, with the PCs holding off the carrion crawlers, they all swim downstream to the sea and hide on the shoreline. The PCs then sneak up to the landing where they once scammed an ogre, but are taken by surprise by the five giants lurking on guard. Fortunately, these giants are badly hampered by The Frederick pulling off their helmets to expose them to the moist atmosphere of Earth, so they are unable to resist the scarab of confusion set off by Dain and the various high-level spells from Zach and Ella. The boatjacking is a success and the 60-odd surviving escaped thralls are sent off back to the mainland (with the body of an elf killed by the Martian lions as the fake sacrifice to the mermaids).

This leaves only the however-many thralls still in captivity, to be rescued from the 50-odd giants and equal number of green Martians still at large. Since beating them down in direct combat is clearly not going to work, the PCs go to the swamp to find the Abominable Daughter of the Merqueen. If she is sufficiently abominable, maybe they can enlist her aid against the giants, or perhaps they can lift her curse and get the mermaids as allies. The swamp is haunted by psychic tree octopodes, but they are hardly able to eat any adventurers at all, and eventually the PCs find the colossal caecilia in her basin, where the tree-octopodes serenade her. Her tentacles each bear an auxiliary head, and sometimes suffer lapses of visibility, so Zach is nominated to do the talking next week.

Dave and I just missed the train, so we had to creep back to San Jose on the bus.


I successfully caught up on GATE using my new AV setup. Wheee!

Still haven't tested DVDs.

The Remote app for controlling an Apple TV from your iOS device just replicates the interface of the dumb remote, instead of taking any advantage of the touchscreen. I'm sure it was a million times easier to write that way, but I am disappointed.


I tried writing a little in supermythos, but I don't like it (which is different from it being horrible) and will have to throw it away or at least rewrite it completely.

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12 March 2016 - Saturday

Apple TV box plus television plus Crunchyroll means that when people stop inviting me to anime night, I can watch anime in the comfort of my own pit! Unless it's on DVD; I haven't tested streaming from the drive in my Mac Mini yet.


It took so long to enter my username and password into the Apple TV using only the remote control that I ended up not writing at all. But I have enough words already stored up.


  • Brother, Dear Brother 17: Who would have thought Saint-Just was such a bad influence? Also: love confession!
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 5: It wouldn't be 90s anime without the male lead accidentally tackling and feeling up a female character.
  • Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth 8: I think more exposure to Camille would be good for Claude.
  • Legend of Korra 4.12-13: The end! Plot-wise, well, it is a kid's show. As for the final shot that sent shippers into ecstasies and conservatives into a frothing rage, well, it is a kid's show, but it was still nice, even if there wasn't much there.
  • Steven Universe 29: Garnet is awesome.

Next week, Natsume's Book of Friends, season 4!


Just One Damned Thing After Another, A Symphony of Echoes, and A Second Chance (Jodi Taylor) are the first three of an ongoing series about crazed British time-travellers. They veer erratically from British institutional humor to car-crashing romance to horror, which is part of their charm. The end of the third book could be an end to the story, but there are at least three more books.

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10 March 2016 - Thursday

I wonder what I would do if I had a brain.


Chains of the Heretic (Jeff Salyards) concludes the "Bloodsounder's Arc" trilogy of gritty military fantasy. I could have sworn the first two books were better-written, but this volume has unknown lands, political revolution, and the deaths of very many unnamed mooks and a few named characters. Most of them deserved it, really.

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8 March 2016 - Tuesday

Dimension W vol 1 (Yuji Iwahara) is about unlimited free energy and how capitalism screws it all up. Also robot girls and possibly the virtues of archaic chemical-powered cars when driven by eccentric bounty hunters.

Milan Matra is the one responsible for Omamori Himari, so we know what to expect from Demonizer Zilch.


Just because, I went back and reread Half-Off Ragnarok and Pocket Apocalypse (Seanan McGuire). I still like Verity and Antimony better, but Alex isn't so bad as a narrator.

The White Gold Score (Craig Schaefer) is a novella set between the first two novels of the series about a sorcerous criminal in Las Vegas. The main character is trying to do right by someone, kind of, but a lot of people end up dead despite the slickness of the con.

Cursed (JA Cipriano) starts off interesting, but degenerates rapidly after the point at which the free sample ends. It is not even well-edited.

Wrong Side of Hell Fields of Blood (Sonya Bateman) are better than Cursed, but not very original.

Marked in Flesh (Anne Bishop) is the fourth and probably last in the series about self-harm, precognition, werewolves, and impending doom. There is a lot of doom, and also network outages, but then some hope.

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6 March 2016 - Sunday

Ayse and I took Jus to the cat show, but she suffered a severe attack of being six, so we didn't stay long. I think it may be time I try to talk my apartment manager into allowing another cat.


Poor Avalon is sick tonight.


I'm caught up on writing, but it's all still horrible.

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5 March 2016 - Saturday

This time I had a good excuse for sleeping in a bunch.


Pot roast!

  • Brother, Dear Brother 17: Yep, Miya was horrible. But other people managed to have somewhat sane interactions anyway.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 4: Morale issues are even more important when your brain is being connected directly to a giant mecha.
  • Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth 7: Claude overcame his pride to help Yune?! Is that like character growth?
  • Legend of Korra 4.11: I don't know why, but although I'm willing to roll with giant mecha in Evangelion, here I'm all for pointing out the numerous fatal flaws with the idea.

I tried to read The Sleeping Life (Andrea K Höst), but I had no idea what was going on, so I had to go back and reread Stained Glass Monsters. Oh, yah, it's the one with the secret bloodline trying to thwart the ritual with the really long casting time. In this installment, more lost magic, more of the apprentice girl, and girlsmooches. Also, mysterious mystery and horrific vegetation.


I've usually seen it rendered as "-machia", but Gigantomaxia vol 1 (Kentaro Miura) is set a hundred million years after the great extinction, so a little drift is understandable. An escaped gladiator and something in the shape of a young girl wander the wastelands, trying to prevent the expansionist empire's giant monsters from overthrowing and devouring the local gods that sustain the scattered tribes. In this volume: the beetle people vs fire-breathing land octopi!


Fortunately, although I have a to write a certain number of words each day (on average), there is nothing to say that they have to be good for anything. I don't even know what I want to do with supermythos. Maybe inscribe it on imperishable plastic tablets and bury it to make future generations wonder.

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4 March 2016 - Friday

Hurray, we got Marith to socialize! With Avalon! And people!


No writing. Only Zuul.

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3 March 2016 - Thursday

Kelsey and Grant both couldn't make it to gaming, so we played Lords of Waterdeep (I came in last) and Red Dragon Inn (I was eliminated first). It was fun even though I suck, but this is the second week in a row we've had to cancel 13th Age.


I tried to have more supermythos thoughts, but this has not been a good week for thoughts in general. Fortunately, it's completely within the genre for all political, social, and technological history to be exactly the same despite orbital bombardment during the Cold War. I guess iconic supers come next?

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2 March 2016 - Wednesday

I made it to work today, although if my enemies want to ambush me, all they have to do is sneak up on my left where I can't turn my head.


Poor Ghirardelli wants to play chase, but I am really not up for it. Or for anything except staring blankly at tumblr and doing a tiny bit of terrible writing.


A Gathering of Shadows (VE Schwab) is the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic. It has even more doom, only some of which could have been easily predicted from the doom of the previous book. Delilah has no sense of self-preservation whatsoever. There are smooches.

I somehow managed to fail at preordering Calamity (Brandon Sanderson), but some computer somewhere let slip that it exists, so I had to start reading it and then go back and reread Firefight to get caught up on the discoveries about the central mystery before reading the volume in which All is Revealed. Unfortunately, I found the Big Answer a bit lacking. It made sense and all, but there wasn't enough support on either the story level or the worldbuilding level for it to be fully satisfying. Maybe I am just too picky.

Chaos Choreography (Seanan McGuire) is the fifth book in the "InCryptids" series. We are back to Verity as the narrator, even though I was hoping for Antimony. (On the other hand, Internet Rumor suggests that eventually the Infamous Dimension-Hopping Grandmother (who we finally meet for real in this volume) will eventually be the narrator, which will be awesome.) So, this book is full of dancing and conspiracies and cute chupacabras and mass murder, kind of like the first one only different. I was not entirely correct about who the villain was. I'm not sure how to take the lack of fallout from the climax, but the next book might be interestingly doomed.

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1 March 2016 - Tuesday

Uuuuugh. Feverish and queasy all night. Got up to sit on the toilet in the early morning, started sweating buckets and shivering, woke up on the floor with a crick in my neck from having my head jammed into the corner. Fainting when I'm sick is not actually unprecedented, but if I had fallen incorrectly, I could probably have ended up with much worse than a sore neck. I wish Avalon were here. Stupid life.

At least I wasn't made of fever and nausea after that, so I was able to do a bit of work from home, but I had no energy and mostly took like seven hours of naps on the couch.


Last month I wrote about 268% of my self-imposed quota. I think this month I will increase the quota by 50%, even though I am starting off the month by being too sick to think.


It was not a date night, but Avalon was around for a bit. Even long-distance Avalonhugs make everything better.

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