Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 January 2017 - Tuesday

Today is an Obnoxious Commute day, but on the other hand, The Hanging Tree (Ben Aaronovitch) is finally out!

The theme of this episode is More Mages. Not all of them are antagonistic, but all of them are obnoxious (to Peter). The faeries and river nymphs are pretty obnoxious too, actually, but they hardly try to kill him at all, much. The additional mages do bring new magical lore with them, which of course they refuse to share. Plus a department store gets blown up! Nightingale is still awesome.

Also read today: Behind the Throne (KB Wagers), which is not actually Star Wars, but is pretty similar in genre and also quality of worldbuilding. The future is at least not completely WASP – the planet where most of the action happens is sort of Indian. I have no idea whether Hinduism would really evolve that way after thousands of years, so I can't tell whether the author knows either, but I guess I can run with it. Still, not nearly as good as The Hanging Tree

I seem to have only written about 70% of the goal I set at the beginning of the month. This is because I suck, and also maybe because editing is hard. (But then, the equivalent word counts I award myself for editing are pretty much completely made up anyway.) It is hard to be motivated to write for no readers, but people who only pretended to be interested would not be any better, so stop thinking that right now. Blargh.

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30 January 2017 - Monday

I tried to edit my NaNoWriMo, but I don't know how to do editing. I have a list of notes on things that should be changed (take out waffling, improve descriptions of cute girls, justify the inconsistencies that come from writing without planning, etc), but when I go through the existing text, I have no idea what to do. I really don't want to rewrite the entire thing from scratch (although that's probably what it would take), but when I make changes at the sentence level or smaller, it doesn't seem like they fit any more. BLARGH!

Maybe this means I just don't know how to write.

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29 January 2017 - Sunday

This week, in PAD&D5, we played the NPCs who banded together to rescue the Heroes of Red Larch from the aftermath of last session's TPK. Most of us played [SPOILER], but Edie and Hazel got to play one [SPOILER] and one [SPOILER] each and wreaked havoc. It was a huge chaotic mess, especially when the regular PCs got involved, but very satisfying. The villains were in a high place, which may have made them feel imposing, but let my character hose them extensively.

Next session, the PCs take a short rest, clean up what was left of the [SPOILER], and then probably get in way over their heads.

Look! It's Avalon!

I meant to read it as a web serial, but failed because I am an idiot. Nevertheless, now that it is out as a single ebook, I have obtained and read Summer in Orcus (T Kingfisher) and liked it a lot. (Since T Kingfisher is a pen name for Ursula Vernon, who among other things produced the picture I use as an icon, this should come as no surprise to anyone.) It does not deconstruct the genre of portal fiction, but it has houses that migrate across the plains and big bad wolves and birds in waistcoats and dogs that are too pure for this world. Some parts of it are pretty scary, but it has 0% mushy content, so I would recommend it for persons of around the protagonist's age (almost 12), and also people who like somewhat whimsical fantasy.

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28 January 2017 - Saturday

Today, I was useless. At least my apartment got cleaned.

  • My Little Pony 1: Mostly introducing characters and also setting up the first big conflict that will probably not actually destroy the world. Right?
  • Durarara!!x2 2.1: Well, at least someone came to visit Izaya!
  • Vision of Escaflowne 4-5: Villains destroy everything, pyschic heroine saves the day, Van is exposed to villainous dialogue.
  • Steven Universe 42-44: Steven and Connie and snow, aw! Greg and Amethyst and VHS, sheesh. Steven and kindergarten and poking things with a stick, yikes! Just because it produced information doesn't mean it was a good idea!

Jus was so excited to watch anime with grownups, which is not conducive to good behavior. Also she encourages other people in bad behavior. Tsk!

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27 January 2017 - Friday

No date, Avalon is not feeling well.

The Cold Eye (Laura Anne Gilman) is the sequel to Silver on the Road, set in a fantasy West where the Devil, or someone trading under that name, rules the entire middle of the continent despite Spanish, French, and Anglo colonies trying to encroach from all sides. The protagonist has been given the power of his Left Hand, to travel the Territory and correct irregularities, which is fairly similar to righting wrongs, but maybe not as similar as might be hoped. Also, magicians kind of suck.

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25 January 2017 - Wednesday

It is an immutable rule of 13th Age that everything is better if it happens in a living dungeon or on the back of a Koru behemoth. This week, we had both! Also Kelsey's new character, a fighter named Fey, who thinks the rest of the PCs are crazy. (She's right.) The mini-[SPOILER] is defeated, though, and now we are trundling back westward to meet up with Li, if we survive the Koru Random Encounter Table (which does not literally exist, but you know what I mean).

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24 January 2017 - Tuesday

I was saved from going to the far office by having a meeting scheduled right during commute time, so after all the customer stuff, I was able to walk home in good time to have a date with Avalon.

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23 January 2017 - Monday

For a while I was trying to not eat so much meat, but then eating low-carb turned out to be what had the health benefits (in my case), so I relaxed on meat (tasty, tasty, meat), but now I have yet another medicine which is for cholesterol, so blargh. Less meat, I guess.

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22 January 2017 - Sunday

Today the only useful thing I did was get another quarterly supply of special cat food, and Marith had to help with that.

I also realized that the timeline in the continuation of my NaNoWriMo was completely messed up, and had to start rewriting from a fairly early point. It's still all horrible in any case.

Someday I should edit my NaNoWriMo to make it differently horrible.

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21 January 2017 - Saturday

  • Durarara!!x2 12: This arc seems to be wrapped up with most of the conflicting parties reconciled. Also Mikado is apparently a supervillain based on the way he gains followers. Izaya is kicking off the next arc already, though, so I expect no less excitement next week.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal 24-26: Victory! With the power of love and sacrifice! But no more Dark Lady.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 3: It's Allen Schezar (yay)! And his band of cheerful cutthroats (yay)! Also Dilandau (boo).
  • Steven Universe 41: And now back to Steven growing up, which he is doing pretty well. Better than Lars, who is... 10? years older than him, anyway.

Next week, we start My Little Pony and Julia can start watching with us. That will be something!

Yes, I read non-genre fiction too, sometimes! A Boy Like Me (Jennie Wood) is about a trans guy growing up in a small town in North Carolina, which goes better than you might think, but not without a lot of teenage drama (some self-generated, some from living Trump-voter-land). Fortunately he does have an understanding uncle. I can't speak to the realism of the trans parts, but the self-generated drama did seem a lot like what I remember of being a teenager.

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20 January 2017 - Friday

Well, we're all fucked now.

At least someone got to punch a Nazi. (After some consideration, I am in favor of Nazi-punching, because the arguments against all seem to be predicated on the Nazis not being violent first, and not being violent to rich white people is not the same as not being violent. So, fuck Nazis.)

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18 January 2017 - Wednesday

In this week's 13th Age, we had a king-of-the-mountain fight, and then Claire got one of the most metal deaths possible: screaming a prayer to her goddess from atop a pyramid of skulls while lava from the wound she inflicted on a living dungeon poured down on her. We named the resulting island St Claire in her honor.

Anwë was only killed normally, so Ktang's brought her back to life without the possessing spirit. Surely there will be no aftereffects beyond the extra ribs.

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16 January 2017 - Monday

We get all the holidays at my company (along with unlimited vacation hours), but I had to do work today anyway, to get a new customer who is a LinkedIn contact of the CEO up and running by tomorrow. I hate Cloudera Manager.

I also slogged up to Mountain View to finally get the lab tests on my various bodily fluids done. This was complicated by forgetting to hydrate, so I had to find a water fountain and then sit playing Pixel Dungeon for a while before I could provide an appropriate sample.

Reading! Not in any particular order.

The second volume of In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaira, Chashiba Katase) is not quite as good as the first, but we get some Disturbing Implications and Appalling Secrets, and the main protagonists continue to not get along. The one who is supposed to be more primary (I think) is not as sympathetic as she could be, but still entertaining.

The Burning Page is the third book in Genevieve Cogman's "Invisible Library" series, in which the fallout from the second book (and the first, really) continues to make the main characters' lives difficult and in fact may destroy the Library and everything else. I don't know if I'm supposed to picture Zayanna as Yuuko from xxxHolic, but I do anyway.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day (Seanan McGuire) is a standalone (I think) novella about ghosts and time and witches and doom.

My Name is Markham (Jodi Taylor) is a short piece in the "Chronicles of St Mary's" series, from the point of view of a secondary character who is of course the primary character in his own life, and not all that impressed with the ostensibly main characters of the series. Apparently there was an English king who burned some cakes? I don't know history, man, I'm American.

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15 January 2017 - Sunday

PAD&D5! We dealt with [SPOILER]'s minions, helped an NPC talk to [SPOILER], and then went to look for a new adventure site because that one was out-levelling us. The nearby collection of people [SPOILER]ing turned out to be a [SPOILER] plot, as we had expected all along, but the [SPOILER]s completely pwned our inadequately-optimized party and next session we will probably start off at maximum doom. Again. At least we'll be 5th level, so we'll have a +1 on most attempts to survive.

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14 January 2017 - Saturday

  • Durarara!!x2 11: It looks like things are drawing to a close, although there is probably one or two more episodes of this mess to finalize.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 1-2: So 90s! With noses that go UP! And dragons that go UP! But Hitomi is not as much of a drip as many 90s anime protagonists. The sky still does not make sense.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal 23: Yay, it's Dark Lady! For some definition of "yay", but I like her.
  • Steven Universe 38-40: We rewatched "The Test", where we left off so many months ago, to see Steven be grown-up, and then found out the dark and scary parts of Amethyst's backstory. Yikes!

I haven't read much at all this year, because tumblr and pad games and writing and general stupidity, but here are some mangas of which I read the first volumes, in descending order.

Fire Force (Atsushi Ohkubo, known for Soul Eater) is pretty standard shounen exorcism, with a young male hero driven by his tragic past to put his special power to good use in the weirdo squad of an elite monster-fighting organization. The threat in this one is spontaneous human combustion, which doesn't just burn people immediately but turns them into homicidal fire monsters for a while first. It's not set in modern Japan, but unlike in Ohkubo's earlier work, the moon does not laugh at the main character from the sky.

Holy Corpse Rising (Hosana Tanaka) is smut or maybe just cheesecake, in an alternate historical Europe with a female Pope and Artemis-worshipping witches (none of them warmly dressed). The hapless teenage protagonist is forcibly engaged to at least two older women. Hilarity and/or violence ensues.

In The Seven Princes of the Thousand-Year Labyrinth (Atori Haruno, Aikawa Yu), seven semi-random spuds are locked in a castle of deathtraps, from which only the rightful emperor will emerge.

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11 January 2017 - Wednesday

In this week's 13th Age, we found what Mrs Li has been up to, and what sort of twisted abominations have been produced as a result. Also Anwë was revealed as being possessed by the Moon Serpent, who just wants to take over the world and rule it with an iron coil, and doesn't know why all these monkey-things are being uppity about it.

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10 January 2017 - Tuesday

Instead of going to the far office for free food today, I got up early to slog to the doctor's office in farthest Transitania. She agreed that I might not be dead, but encouraged me to actually get the tests she ordered so she can make a more informed diagnosis.

Also, customers.

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8 January 2017 - Sunday

First PAD&D5of the new year!

Because there was extensive weather, and Deirdre lives on the weatherward side of the hills, at the end of a dirt road off an unimproved gravel road off a one-lane road (or something), she did not think it wise to make the trek in, so we assigned her character to guard prisoners and escort NPCs while the rest of the party cleaned out the large [SPOILERS] guarding the next level down of [SPOILER] with a clever ruse, delivered Akrá's quest token to [SPOILER] in exchange for a suitable reward, and went back to [SPOILER] to have words with [SPOILER] (which required a fight, so the actual [SPOILER] will be next week).

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7 January 2017 - Saturday

Argh, I forgot to (find and) bring DVDs! Woe! Sadness! Lack of anime! Fortunately we had lots of other anime to watch.

  • Durarara!!x2 10: I don't even, man. The stuff that was happening? More of that happened.
  • Nekomonogatory White 3-5: Go Hanekawa! Turn your life around! (Bonus points if you ditch that drip Araragi and run off with Senjyogahara! Bummer.)
  • Sailor Moon Crystal 22: Oh no, they got to Chibi-Usa!

We are at the end of what was orginally scheduled for *monogatari, because it's all that Dave had when I made the list that we are following oh-so-slowly due to SOME PEOPLE randomly having work events on anime night and the like. Despite never asking for the list to be changed, SOME PEOPLE teased me about being inflexible. But we are going to watch Steven Universe anyway, because it was just having plot when we stopped watching way back in June (when SOME PEOPLE made anime more inconvenient for everyone else). Also next week: Vision of Escaflowne, this time for sure!

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6 January 2017 - Friday

Another random person on the Internets came across the Challenge System and pointed out a problem with it. I guess it's good that Google indexes my ancient web pages from the days when I thought it was worth doing things, but sheesh.

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3 January 2017 - Tuesday

Oh, this is why sleeping in over the holidays was a bad idea. At least I got free Mediterranean food for going to work.

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2 January 2017 - Monday

No work today, because we couldn't take off the 1st, because it was on a Sunday. I did a few more things, like writing for the second day in a row, but otherwise was pretty useless.

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1 January 2017 - Sunday

2017, you better not suck!

Today I managed to do some things, so if I can continue doing things, perhaps I can hold up my end of 2017. I'm not sure I can recommend holding your breath, though.

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