Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 June 2016 - Thursday

No gaming, Ken is something. Packing, probably.

I guess that's about it for June writing. Total a pathetic 7899 words in 30 days, but that's still 75% more than my super-pathetic quota, so I guess I need to increase the quota by one notch, to 200 per day.

It is all still unspeakably terrible, of course.

The author of The Legion of Nothing went on vacation for a bit, and had other superhero web serial writers contribute guest posts like the openings of their own stories. Based on this, I read everything available of Stone Burners. I don't think it is quite as good, but low-level super...villain...people have exciting adventures, and everyone likes Olivia.

Vol 2 of Mysterious Girlfriend X (Riichi Ueshiba) features more biochemical communication and more romance. The secondary female character is ridiculously cute.

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28 June 2016 - Tuesday

You know that thing where you lie down in a soft place for 6-8 hours and close your eyes while your mind and body recharge themselves? It's trickier than it sounds! On the other hand, I dreamt about running Dungeon World. I don't know if I did a very good job, but I implemented a timer for how many times they could trigger traps in the half-deserted city of kobolds before attracting serious attention, and I remembered that it's not stats that make a monster scary.

It's Tuesday, so I went in to the main office, but there were only about four people (maybe only three at any one time). Everyone else was at the big Hadoop conference, being useful by interacting with money and its human servants.

At least the commute did not betray me this time.

Hurray, it's Avalon!

Writing: still terrible. Maybe even more than usual; I think I'm going to have to rewrite this part. I'm not sure how, though, since if I knew how to write it better hopefully I would have already.


The premise of JavaScript: The Good Parts (Douglas Crockford) is that JavaScript is a language with some really nice features and a few horrible defects, mostly concealed under an enormous pile of more defects. I don't actually know JS, so I didn't entirely follow the argument, but it seemed plausible.

Psycho Love Comedy: Murderer in the Flower of Death (Mizuki Mizushiro, Namanie) is a light novel in the time-honored genre that combines high school, murderers, and cleavage.

Hurray, more "Laundry"! The Nightmare Stacks (Charles Stross) is from the PoV of one of the hapless bankers introduced in The Rhesus Chart, who is really pretty sympathetic. Young, but there's no quick cure for that. Plus, CASE NIGHTMARE RED! No Bob or Maureen, though.

Kiss of the Rose Princess vol 1 (Aya Shouto) is reverse-harem, summoning-card subtype, except that the cards summon the N hottest guys from the heroine's high school. There is some impending doom with a broken magical seal on the heroine that cannot possibly be that bad, right?

The beginning of volume 2 of Taboo Tattoo (Shinjiro) was confusing enough that I had to go back and reread volume 1. Oh, right, that's how the girl next door got mixed up in geopolitical wrangling involving rocks that grant superpowers and really horrible people.

Complex Age (Yui Sakuma) is about a secret cosplayer reaching her mid-20s, meeting new people who don't keep their bizarre hobby a secret, and questioning her life.

Do: Fate of the Flying Temple is partly a Fate Accelerated version of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple and partly a sequel: the pilgrims get back to the Flying Temple and it's gone, leaving only a dragon egg! But letters still get delivered to the egg, because people are still having problems on all the different worlds. When then pilgrims resolve the Temple's disappearance and raise the dragon to 10 aspects, the campaign is over.

Pirates are violent and like gold, dragons are violent and like gold, so Pirates & Dragons seems like a natural concept. Unfortunately, it suffers from using a derivative of BRP, and also from having, well, White People and Natives. You can play a native character, so it's not like they're orcs, except that some of them have evil draconic overlords. I dunno, man.

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26 June 2016 - Sunday

In accordance with tradition, we all (well, not Ken, he is at Pride) went to dim sum with Tabby. Many crustaceans died to feed us this day.

Jus was not quite awful enough last night to get the trip to Billy Beez (warning, website makes noise) cancelled, so there was much climbing and sliding and climbing and sliding and foam balls and climbing and sliding. I am not in shape for keeping up with kids all afternoon! I am also not in size for scuttling through crawltubes, but I did go down some slides with Jus and not die too much. If I were a kid, it would have been awesome.

No date, Avalon had to work. I tried to write, but only barely made one day's worth, accounting for non-writing days but not stretch goal. Also, still awful.

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25 June 2016 - Saturday

Dave's mom, known locally as Tabby for historical bun-related reasons, is in town to help Dave move to his new Fortress of Elevation. (Ayse and Ken and Jus and Nonni will move in a few weeks.)

  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.12-13: That was a kind of irresolute resolution for 52 episodes, but perhaps the most that could be hoped for. It is a happy ending, anyway.
  • Brother, Dear Brother 31: It's sad when rich people are reduced to doing their own bullying. They just aren't very good at it.
  • Bakemonogatari 11: And now, the kittygirl arc!
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 18: Shinji must really identify with Unit 01, if he feels responsible for what it was made to do via remote control.
  • Steven Universe 38: That was remarkably mature of Steven. Good job!

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23 June 2016 - Thursday

Today I received a giant isopod in the mail. Aren't you jealous?

After a lot of back and forth, Ken finally admitted that he couldn't do gaming tonight because new house. I tried to make alternate plans, but Avalon's kid got sick, so I mostly just went blblblblblblblbl.

Nope! by marithlizard (Fri Jun 24 12:06:32 2016)

Not at all. In fact, you can have any isopods that show up in my mailbox ever. See what I do for you as a sister?

I am jealous of the earthy sculptures you linked on your tumblr, though. I want to put things like this one in corners of parks and nature spots, where 95% of passerby will never notice them but every so often someone will do a double take and be delighted.

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21 June 2016 - Tuesday

Work party to celebrate the new version that came out a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately the company is still small, so it was not excessivly onerous, although the drinking portion of the entertainment was lost on me.

I have been reading Orion's Arm, which is a wiki full of far-future transhumanism, alien aliens, and STL travel.

Avalon's work finally figured out how to get their act together, but only after giving her a migraine.

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20 June 2016 - Monday

Avalon's organization is still in release hell.

Seven Forges, The Blasted Lands, City of Wonders, and The Silent Army (James A Moore) are the first four books in a series that clearly needs at least one more to explain what the heck is going on. Featured: mysterious magical apocalypses, at least two sets of gods (which may or may not be the same order of being), a wizardly vizier who is not actually evil, invading barbarians, uncommon but extremely powerful magic, a simple soldier, and doom. So much doom. More doom than that, even.

Genevieve Cogman is another published author from TooMUSH. She has mostly written gaming stuff, but her first novel, The Invisible Library, has just became available on Kindle (who publishes paper books without an ebook right away?!). No one will be surprised that it is about a librarian who travels to other dimensions, and probably not much that this adventure is in steampunk London, but it is pretty entertaining and there is good interPC drama. The next two books exist, but only in paper form so far, so it may be a while until I read them.

Blood in the Water (Taylor Anderson) is the eleventh(?) episode in the "Destroyermen" alternate-timeline saga of heroic US Navy vs dinosaurs and madmen. They are definitely episodes by this point, not even remotely stand-alone books. No one appreciates catgirls enough.

I'm not sure Dark Run (Mike Brooks) is on a grand enough scale to be space opera, more like space cyberpunk, but the main characters are definitely PCs. The setting is not particularly novel, although the space-going bits are not completely stupid.

Volume 2 of Paradise Residence (Kosuke Fujishima) is much like volume 1. There do not appear to be any twists, just slice-of-wackiness.

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19 June 2016 - Sunday

No gaming, only Zuul. I did finish chapter 9 of Melisande & Melisande. (It is terrible.)

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18 June 2016 - Saturday

Cleaners, check.

I think I need to be firmer about not playing games that involve hitting or fighting with Jus. Oof.

  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.10: It probably is wrong of me to ship Natsume and Hiiragi.
  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.11: Hey, is Natsume going to resolve his parent issues?
  • Bakemonogatari 9: New girl, with spirit snakes. It is a good question why Araragi isn't calling Senjyogahara. She's got to be less problematic at dealing with half-naked middle-schoolers than Kanbaru.
  • Brother, Dear Brother 30: Wow, it's like redemption! I didn't expect that character to try to fling herself, though.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Oops, we don't have the disc. Time to watch extra of something else!
  • Bakemonogatari 10: Looks like Araragi rolled a 7-9 on his Remove Curse roll: the GM offered him a worse outcome/an ugly choice. Next episode: kittygirl!

early ethics education by marithlizard (Wed Jun 22 13:24:09 2016)

Yeah, I realized last time that we need to have a conversation about how some things are not okay to do to your enemies/prisoners even if they are monsters, and even if it's just pretend. Which seems like a lot for a small kid, but important. Fortunately her parents are good at explaining complex concepts.

Re: early ethical education by Trip (Wed Jun 22 17:13:28 2016)

I'm still trying to figure out how to explain that everyone thinks they're the Good Guys.

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17 June 2016 - Friday

Apparently Avalon's employer has no idea how to run a run web site, so they are having a QA panic on Friday night instead of releasing well-tested code and going home for the weekend. One wouldn't think this process would still be a mystery to anyone, but...

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16 June 2016 - Thursday

Grant exploded without warning, but we had Mike, so 13th Age was able to happen. Once again, there were no fights. Anwë is a terrible spy, because dice are involved. Maybe we should switch to Dungeon World so I at least get XP for failing so many rolls.

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14 June 2016 - Tuesday

The train made me almost an hour late getting into work, and then everyone had to come into the room where I was trying to get the thing doen to eat lunch very loudly and sociably. It wasn't as bad as last week, but still not an optimal working experience.

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13 June 2016 - Monday

That most inauspicious of all days, Monday the Thirteenth.

Must be time for a reading update!

Gateway to Fourline and On the Meldon Plain (Pam Brondos) are unexceptional gateway fantasy, with spider-monsters and dream magic.

Most cultists don't start worshipping the Great Old Ones with the intent of becoming gibbering low-HP cannon fodder to be mowed down by investigators. Usually, they want secret knowledge and truths that humanity is not giving them. In Cthulhusattva (ed Scott R Jones), we see some of what they learn, or at least about it. You know you want the True Wisdom.

Hair in All the Wrong Places (Andrew Buckley) is unexceptional lycanthropy/puberty fic.

Eldritch Chrome (Brian M Sammons, Glynn Owen Barrass) is Cthulhu/Cyberpunk, for a sometimes loose definition of cyberpunk. As is common in anthologies, the quality is variable.

Volume 2 of Dimension W (Yuji Iwahara) still does not have monsters from another universe, but for how long can manga keep using a semi-physical definition of "dimension"?

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts (Maybe) is set in an Old-West-like mileau, in the generation after a civil war. However, in this history, the outgunned side won by turning soldiers into supernatural beasts. Now the demobilized beasts are going mad in various ways, and their former commanding officer has to hunt them down and put them out of their misery according to the oath they swore, accompanied by the rifle-toting daughter of one of the first beasts to be euthanized.

The vampires in Devils' Line (Ryo Hanada) are of the uncontrollable-urges subtype: normally they are people, but blood or adrenaline will make them flip out and do whatever it takes to get the tasty tasty blood inside of anyone nearby. This poses certain problems for human-vampire relationships, but somehow that doesn't stop people. At least the leads are taking it slow, because they know it's doomed.

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12 June 2016 - Sunday

Still more lethargy.

Jeremy and Rachel's new floor is very slick, in the manner of shiny new hardwood floors. This makes Rosie sad, but made putting their furniture back in place easy. (They have given us so many millions of calories, I have no objection to giving a little energy back.)

Deirdre has horrible work on Monday, and then has to pack to go to New York, so I arranged for Lily to fall off a cliff. It builds character, right?

I think this session went better, hopefully because we are getting the hang of Dungeon World and not because we are getting lax and playing it like the games we're used to. I felt kind of weird making up whole sections of the dungeon, instead of having it all planned out, but I think that's how one is supposed to run Dungeon World. Anyway, when we did the end-of-session move, everyone agreed that they had learned horrifying new things about the world, so I feel that I have done at least part of my job.

Hurray for Avalonhugs!

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11 June 2016 - Saturday

So much lethargy.

  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.9: Considering how often Natsume ends up disguising himself as a yōkai, you'd think he'd be better at it, or maybe even work at it.
  • Brother, Dear Brother 29: Oh, here's some more flinging. But go Prince Kaoru! Equality for all!
  • Bakemonogatari 8: Is it cheating to pay the penalty for breaking the demonic compact in hit points when you regenerate? Although really Hitagi was the one who broke it, as one might expect.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 16-17: Angels from the higher dimensions! Also, Eva rampage! Then, mysterious Eva-related devastation, but it's in Nevada, which is used to that sort of thing.

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9 June 2016 - Thursday

Today we had no Mike for 13th Age, but we did have Grant and pizza, so there was a quorum. This session was all talking, so very little was resolved. Every important personage has their opinion on what should happen with the Emperor's marital status, but Anwë is not impressed by their self-serving reasons for why the Elf Queen should not become empress of everything.

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8 June 2016 - Wednesday

Hurray! Avalon!

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7 June 2016 - Tuesday

I commuted all the way to the far office today, which got me a fairly good tuna sandwich and then a sweaty two hour search for a bus that would actually show up at the bus stop and take me to the train station. By the time I got back to San Jose, there was no way to get to a polling place in time to do my civic duty.

Other great things that happened today:

Customer: We need you to do your thing with Third Party.
Third Party: We did our thing, please do your thing.
Us: Third Party, you seem to have done A instead of B. We only do the thing with B.
TP: Nonsense, we always do B. How can you claim we did A?
Us: Please see enclosed evidence.
TP: Oh yes, we only ever do A. We've never done B.
Us: But we only do the thing with B. Could you B for us?
TP: Maybe if you break off the one leg of the A and fold it around the bottom it would look like B?

I asked Dave to expand on the goofy answer he gave on Sunday via email, but instead of using the extra thinking time to go back toward the agreed-upon genre, he sent something even goofier.

The part of my apartment right around where I sit to stare mindlessly into tumblr smells like cat pee but only when I'm not looking for the source, so I can't find where it's coming from and clean it up.

Avalon is back from the cruise but too busy to see me.

Even though these are all trivial problems, I am a very sullen parasite. Apparently I have not lived my life in such a manner as to develop serenity in the face of adversity. Very disappointing.

Busy by Avalon (Fri Jun 10 17:43:04 2016)

Oh but I was not AFTER. kiss

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5 June 2016 - Sunday

Earl has decided that he's not up to running PAD &D5 any more, or maybe he just can't put up with our goofiness. Either way, we must find new gaming!

Hey, look, people I can run Dungeon World on!

Of course I made many mistakes, because I am a terrible GM. I let people make characters who all had the same background, I didn't stomp on goofy answers to questions, I let people reskin things, I didn't ask enough questions about what doing things is like... And Dave's brain doesn't produce useful answers about the fictional world unless he stops gaming for a while, which is sub-optimal.

Perhaps next week will be better. At least we will be back in Gollubtania, instead of in a hotel room with wonky AC.

Avalon will be back from her cruise soon, but not yet.

Gollubtania by Jeremy (Tue Jun 14 20:43:21 2016)

I would burst into sardonic song if only I could make "Gollubtania" scan like "Romania."

Gaming is a endless cycle of fun / A medley of extemporania / ...

Although it was fun, so there goes the sardonic part.

Re: Gollubtania by Trip (Wed Jun 15 09:24:46 2016)

I think you have to leave out at least one vowel in Gollubtania to make it scan, but then you have to leave out at least one vowel in Jeremy to make it scan like Marie.

You've heard the Flash Girls song, right?

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4 June 2016 - Saturday

Cleaners, check. Grocery shopping, check.

  • Natsume's Book of Friends 4.8: Wow, a female anime character who's over 30! (Actually Natsume is pretty good about not having women only for cheesecake.)
  • Brother, Dear Brother 28: More family drama for Mariko, but no one actually plummets from a bridge in this episode.
  • Bakemonogatari 6-7: And now, monkey of doom! Apparently tormenting Araragi is very fulfilling, because every girl he meets does it.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 15: NERV is hiding things?! One of those things is pretty freaky-looking, too.
  • Steven Universe 36-37: Hey, look, plot! Just flying around in hyperspace and being mean and scary! Plus, fusion that may or may not be symbolic but certainly made Garnet happy. Her little Steven is growing up!

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2 June 2016 - Thursday

No one had a brain, but we ate okay Indian food and played 13th Age anyway (with Mike, without Grant).

Back in the main timeline, the PCs have escaped the Stone Thief somewhere in the southern fringes of the High Druid's headquarters forest. Disaster follows the Stone Thief everywhere it goes, so it's not that surprising to find a party of Imperial couriers slaughtered by dragons before they could deliver the Druid's wedding invitation. With the help of a passing pixie and his treant friends, and the anti-help of a demon-corrupted dryad and a wendigo, the PCs find the village where the Druid is hanging out and attempt to ingratiate themselves by helping with farming. Apparently Li majored in Agricultural Infrastructure at the Imperial University.

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1 June 2016 - Wednesday

Huh, it's month number 6 already. How did that happen?

Okay books:

73458285th in the "Chronicles of St Mary's" series, Lies, Damned Lies, and History (Jodi Taylor) has more doom, more Max getting in trouble, and more pregnancy.

Awesome books:

In Borderline (Mishell Baker), a disabled (following a suicide attempt) film student with borderline personality disorder is recruited by a mysterious organization that keeps the slumming faeries in the LA area under control. Since this organization preferentially recruits those with mental issues, her coworkers are a colorful lot, and interaction ensues. Millie is pretty obnoxious in some ways and hard to deal with, but surprisingly sympathetic.

Velveteen vs the Seasons (Seanan McGuire) is the third in the "Velveteen" series, in which the awful fairytale debts incurred in the previous books come home to roost and Velveteen has to spend some time as a semi-living trainee/avatar/pawn of various mythic and holiday figures. This is even less fun than it sounds, plus people are causing trouble while she's away.

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