Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 June 2017 - Friday

Marith and I finished watching Cowboy Bebop. It is so doomed, although the story Spike told about the cats made me sadder than anything that happened to humans.

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28 June 2017 - Wednesday

Today, Dungeon World and Pizza My Heart! I ate two pieces of pizza, which was about 1½ more than I should have, but so tasty! Then I was a terrible GM, although at least I had a super-contrived and stupid way of getting Kelsey's character joined up with the others.

Amulet Rampant (MCA Hogarth) is the third in the "Prince's Game" series, in which some of the main characters attempt to recover from the events of the two previous books. Contains lots of kinky gay sex, palace intrigue, and crossovers with other series in the same universe.

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26 June 2017 - Monday

Today I went to work. It was not very interesting. Then I tried to start rewriting my NaNoWriMo from scratch, but didn't get very far, partly because I have forgotten how to use Scrivener, but mostly because I am rubbish at writing, and everything I write is terrible.

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25 June 2017 - Sunday

Today I accomplished zero things.

zero things by marithlizard (Wed Jun 28 00:33:18 2017)

I don't believe you, if only because the local police blotter failed to say anything in reference to noise complaints about superloud indignant miaoing coming from an apartment near downtown. :)

Re: zero things by Trip (Wed Jun 28 15:28:16 2017)

Doesn't count, they made me do it!

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24 June 2017 - Saturday

Bah, summer. Who needs it?

  • My Little Pony 14: I'm not sure exactly what the lesson of this one is. Possibly the horrifyingly anti-American "expertise means something".
  • Durarara!!x2 3.1: And so the fellowship is formed!
  • Vision of Escaflowne 19: Folken's fiendish kissing plan takes effect!
  • Hanamonogatari 1: It's Ougi again! Or maybe not. Either way, Suruga is probably doomed.
  • Steven Universe 2.16: This actually explains a lot about Onion. And makes Amethyst slightly less tragic.

My Pathetic Vampire Life (Ishikawa Rose) is pretty meh. I don't think the conceit supports even a whole volume, never mind apparently a series.

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23 June 2017 - Friday

Lunch bought us Thai food, which probably makes up for one of the Sales weasels messing up my name.

The Other Side of Secret (Hideaki Yoshikawa) is very shounen, with the cleavage and violence, but I like summoning doors to alternate dimensions of creepy horror and treasure, plus the main character has a non-nebbishy character design and also is devoted to his kitty. Mystery and gruesome death ensues!

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22 June 2017 - Thursday

I tried to do work today, but mostly read Wonkette.

Also read today (well, finished reading):

  • The Girl From the Other Side (Nagabe), about a smol girl and the cursed monster who takes care of her now that the other humans think she is also a cursed and curse-spreading monster. It is mostly quiet, and I like the design of the monster (who is naturally much better than most of the humans we see). Vol 1 ends on quite a cliffhanger, though!
  • Kobold Press's Tome of Beasts 5E which is nominally for their Midgard setting, so it has lots of fey, lots of Norse- and Eastern-European-flavored monsters, and clockwork constructs, but D&D is usually such a mishmash that these monsters could be used in most campaigns. Yay monsters!


They melted!

The secret life of art.

Australian lightning.

How alarming.

Kinetic sculpture from found materials.

Tentacles + machine shop.

The penis seat (no, really).

The Beetle Buddha.


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21 June 2017 - Wednesday

Dungeon World and Chinese food!

Knowing that Kelsey will return next week, I expected people to grab the target and skedaddle, but no, they let him slip away and then went back to trying to break into the upper parts of the temple in search of loot and glory and secret knowledge. Mostly, they found confusion and junk, but they are keeping at it, so next time I will let them into the third level. I even have a plan for getting Ursula involved, although it is somewhat cheesy.

I suck because I prepared too much again.

Like the past few volumes, Spectrum 23 (ed John Fleskes) seems to be mostly M:tG card art and the rest weirdly stylized in a way a don't like, but there was some good stuff too.

No Medals for Secrets (Elliott Kay) is the fourth book in the "Poor Man's War" series, and goes off without the original main character. But that's okay, and we finally get to see the aliens alluded to previously. They are somewhat alarming.

After reading Down Among the Sticks and Bones the other day, I wanted to reread Every Heart A Doorway (Seanan McGuire) because I didn't remember the details. (In fact, I seem to be bad at remembering endings in general.) There are definitely some inconsistencies, but I can see Jack and Jill not being completely truthful about the circumstances of their return.

Raven Strategem (Yoon Ha Lee) is the sequel to Ninefox Gambit, in which plans come to fruition. I might have appreciated the plans more if I had remembered the end of the previous book better (see above) but they were still pretty satisfying in a cryptic kind of way. The setting is still way above my head.


From Aristotle to AI.

The Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre.

Connecting Lego to nonLego.


Books of Unusual Size.

Evolve! Evolve! OK!.

Kaonashi coin bank.

Neglected movies which I had never heard of, although some of them sound intriguing.


And, of course, Affinity.

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18 June 2017 - Sunday

Even too hotter! But this time I was walking to PAD&D5, so it was probably worth it.

The Heroines of Red Larch are not able to catch the [SPOILER] fleeting from last session's battle, but do track them all the way back to Red Larch, where some of them have taken hostages and are issuing demands. The [SPOILER] has made some kind of deal with a [SPOILER], and they are threatening to destroy the town with [SPOILER] unless the Heroines agree to stop persecuting [SPOILER] and work for [SPOILER]. Lam yells, "We will never serve you!" and tries to grab the means of destruction and get it out of town before Rimardo can do anything even slightly clever. A fight breaks out, but the hostages/human shields are not damaged, the [SPOILER] is slain, and [SPOILER] is captured. Not much loot, but there is a party.

The next day, the Heroines head back out to [SPOILER], where the remaining [SPOILER] probably went. No one in need of crushing is currently in residence, but they find their way to the hidden [SPOILER].

Next session in 3 weeks, since 2 weeks is the holiday weekend of Roseville-visiting. But it means Edie will be out again, so we'll be short a ninja. (Actually, it's the ranger who's short.)

I wimped out and rode the bus home, because it was still too hot. It continued to be too hot all evening, so I was not able to do anything except stare blankly at tumblr and flail at MPQ.

MADCAP is an attempt to combine PbtA with zany cartoon hijinks a la Toon. It is also still in beta (though on Kickstarter, obviously), but so far it is not looking like as successful a design as HotFA. The "moves" are so fuzzy they are barely mechanics: "or make something up" is not a valid option for a move in anything that I would call PbtA! I understand where they're coming from with wanting to leave the possibilities for zaniness unrestricted, but I don't think they're doing it in a way that meshes with PbtA at all well.

I am trying to decide whether to send them email about it, or just shut up because the Internet is already full of negativity and Wrong. (My opinion is obviously worthless because otherwise I'd be getting somewhere with SCOOS2.)


Fading ice.

Hypothetical exoplanets.

A city of women.

A robot that makes paper airplanes.

Classic Western pictures with women instead of men.


Bears with plans.

CIA board games.

Even more strange photos.

How differentials work (with bonus train wheels).

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17 June 2017 - Saturday

Today it is too hot, but I went grocery shopping anyway. It built character or something, I guess? Also there is a festival of some kind happening in downtown Willow Glen, so I get to be a crotchety local scowling at all the damn tourists.

Ken's high school friend and her husband and their offspring are in town, so Ayse wanted to sushi them at Yuki Sushi, but there is a huge horrible stupid festival in the way! We had to go to Sushi Infinity instead, which is not as good but had seats for us. It's like victory!

Apparently Courtney is a literary agent, but I did not get to talk to her because I am Nonny's uncle.

Marith is not dealing well with a job that requires standing for four hours straight. :(

  • My Little Pony 13: Today's thing that is not more important than friendship: competition!
  • Durarara!!x2 2.12: That didn't really resolve a whole lot, but then this is the middle arc of three.
  • Vision of Escaflowne 18: Time for the Big Reveal!
  • Koimonogatari 5-6: If Dave is right about what happened at the end, that puts kind of a different spin on things.

Heroines of the First Age is still in pre-Kickstarter beta, but I am looking forward to it: mythic fantasy, Powered by the Apocalypse, with monstergirls!

standing by marithlizard (Tue Jun 20 03:29:44 2017)

In defense of my feet, standing for four hours is fine! Four hours followed by a break and then another four is harder, etc. Fortunately good shoes do seem to help.

Re: standing by Trip (Tue Jun 20 13:16:02 2017)

I'd have trouble with even the first four hours, although it usually gets me in the back rather than the feet. Walking is okay, but just standing in one place, bleah.

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15 June 2017 - Thursday

I guess I did work, or at least attended meetings, but it doesn't feel like I have done anything useful today.

Down Among The Sticks And Bones (Seanan McGuire) is a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, about Jack and Jill's adventure beyond the portal and how they became what they did. The answer is: doom. So much doom. Then additional doom on top of that.

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14 June 2017 - Wednesday

Apparently Dungeon World really does work best when I don't prepare anything except a vague idea of what the NPCs might do if not derailed. I did make some mistakes, but they weren't related to preparation, more to narrating combat ("Uh, okay, roll Hack & Slash again" is not a valid thing in DW). Now I need to figure out what the main remaining NPC is going to do now that the PCs' wackiness has disrupted their brilliant plan.


Comics from one of the The Simpsons artists.

Glass conservation.

But can it get through Cannery Row?

This one looks better for outdoors.

Essence of dog.


Unusual bookcases.

Load-bearing Felt.

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13 June 2017 - Tuesday

Training people is hard. I don't know what to say other than "ask people for help when you need it".

A Peace Divided (Tanya Huff) is second in the series that follows the protagonists of the "Valor" series in their new quasi-demilitarized role as interstellar SWAT in the post-war universe. Archaeology continues to claim a surprising number of lives.

I finally read through Eclipse Phase PbtA and am ambivalent about it. I mean, it is probably a completely functional game, but it's not the way I would have done it. But is it really fair to ding an adaptation for being too faithful to the original? It's definitely derived Dungeon World (physical stats, an all-purpose "do something with any appropriate stat" move), but goes even more back toward the norm of RPGs (which Eclipse Phase does not really deviate from) by having mix-and-match character generation rather than playbooks, a complicated system for making things harder or easier, and long lists of morphs (no list of weapons, though; instead, there's a simple design system for weapons that reminds me of Diaspora).

As a conversion of Eclipse Phase, sure, okay. As a PbtA game in its own right, not so much. And of course it doesn't fix any of the things I think are wrong with EP, but I really can't expect other people to do that right.

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12 June 2017 - Monday

While I was waiting (futilely) for my boss to dial in to a meeting, everyone else in the office buggered off to the other office to meet the new coworkers and eat free food. So apparently I suck and they all hate me. On the other hand, I'm not stuck in San Mateo, and I was able to let the former office manager in to prep for the conference tomorrow.

I'm writing this today, so: more links!

Song for Three Soldiers.

Lake Baikal.

Paper in glass.

Glass on paper.

The Year of Knots.

Architectural fantasies.

Tiny and vitreous.

Seven at one blow.

I still don't know what to make SCOOS2 characters do. Maybe problems come out of local gates, and the adults of course deny the existence or at least the nature of the problems, so monster teens have to handle them? But if they're actual problems, why don't adult monsters/sorcerershandle them? Maybe I should just stick with Sweet, Sweet Uranium (Sweet, sweet ley line nodes? Sweet, sweet human organs?). But none of this has much to do with school. Ugh!

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11 June 2017 - Sunday

Today, I managed to go to Target and buy some things for my apartment, but otherwise was extremely useless. With useless sauce on top!

I tried to have a thought about game design, but it didn't go anywhere. It's already obvious that whatever travails SCOOS2 characters face, they have to have consequences that either adults don't find important ("It doesn't matter if these peasants don't like you, just devote your time to studying and you'll make much better friends at Harvard!") or adults think will never happen ("There are no clowns hiding in the Internet to eat your face, go to sleep!"). But that doesn't tell me what the travails should be.

In Girls' Last Tour (Tsukumizu), two young girls travel through a depopulated and war-scarred artificial environment. As of vol 1, we don't know where they're going, or even where they've come from, never mind where they are or what happened. It is the opposite of action-packed.

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10 June 2017 - Saturday

Ayse and Jus are camping out with the Girl Scouts, and Marith is working, so no anime for us! I went over to see Nonny for a bit, but then went back home and resumed being useless.

Kindred Spirits on the Roof (Hachi Ito, Aya Fumio, Toitensu, Liar-Soft) is apparently based on some visual novel, but the manga is just a couple of schoolgirl shoujo-ai pieces.

In Red Riding Hood and the Big Sad Wolf (Hachoujou Arata), the wolf (who is human) is a big softy and Red Riding Hood is a sadistic pyromaniac who just wants to see him suffer and weep. It is not my sort of manga.

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9 June 2017 - Friday

Because my job gives me unlimited vacation hours, I took the afternoon off to go to Yuki Sushi and The Dancing Cat with Ayse and Jus. Yay, sushi! Yay, kitties!

We met many cats who were very nice (and also Bella), but I did not feel a need to kidnap any of them. This time. But it's only $10 to get in and admire the current crop of cats, and the places is right on the 64 line, so who knows what will happen in the future?

More links!

Maps of places that never existed.

A 20-cent pocket centrifuge.

Amazing optical phenomena.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards of 2016.

The top 100 space photos of 2016.

"Jolene" at 33RPM.

The beautiful bugs of Belize.

Why ever leave the bookstore?

Thierry Bornier's pictures of China.

Pictures of an 8000-year-old bog.

Looking at these all in one place, I see that a lot of them are from Affinity, which is reasonable since it's an excellent blog full of nature photography as well as links to cool stuff.

I wasn't sure how Dan Wells's "John Cleaver" series could be brought to an end, but Nothing Left To Lose is not unreasonable, at least thematically. Practically, I'm not sure that arrangement would be free of outside influences, or stable against them. Still, it's definitely an end to the story.

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8 June 2017 - Thursday

After being behind here for like two months, I am finally almost caught up! Hurray! Maybe now I can start blathering about games and stuff. But in the meantime, have some links!

The Radium Age of SF.

Why cognitive biases exist and what you can do about them.

Art made from shadows.

17 badass women from 2016.

Industrial choreography.

Fear the mantis shrimp.

Single-stroke dragons.

More links later if I stay caught up.

No Cowboy Bebop tonight, Marith's schedule got changed. I will stare blankly at tumblr instead.

Vol 2 of Kiss & White Lily for my Dearest Girl (Canno) is about a different couple and I didn't like it quite as much. Still cute, though.

Nightstruck and Night Magic (Jenna Black) are the first two of a (probable) trilogy about a sudden infestation of dark magic every night in Philadelphia and how it ruins one girl's life (and the lives of those around her, naturally) in particular. She has a plan, though! Well, kinda.

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7 June 2017 - Wednesday

Indian food and Dungeon World again! This time I didn't prepare much, but I did have things talk to the PCs and also try to eat their faces, so it went better than last time.

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5 June 2017 - Monday

One of Marith's neighbors somehow managed to park her in on both sides, so I might have gotten there faster if I walked, but we did somehow manage to get to the theater in time to get decent seats for Wonder Woman!

It was pretty swell! I would rate it as highly as Rogue One, at least. Diana was pretty unequivocally heroic and good and inspirational, the romance was not too contrived or ridiculous, minor characters were good enough that they could have used more screentime. I was a little sad that the plot twist I was hoping for did not materialize, but, superhero movie. Also, I understand why every woman on Tumblr is gay for Gal Gadot.

Sadly, though, I cannot get over the niggling thought that it's set in WWI rather than WWII because no one with the money to make a movie wants to present Nazi-punching in a positive light.

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4 June 2017 - Sunday

It's PAD&D5 again!

This session was mostly a huge set-piece battle between two NPC factions, with another NPC faction causing trouble and the Heroines of Redlarch trying to disrupt everything. We played one of the major factions as well as our regular characters, so it was a huge mess and a bunch of [SPOILER] died, although not as many as if the Heroines had better ranged attacks. It ended with the survivors of one faction making an escape with the maguffin, harried by the Heroines. Next session, perhaps we will pin down the villains and there will be a smaller-scale, but more heroic, combat.

Continuing the theme from yesterday, today I read the first two volumes of Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur (Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Marco Failla, Natacha Bustos), which are about a nine-year-old gadgeteer whose family does not understand her and a giant mutant red T-Rex thing (not an actual T. rex - no feathers!) in New York. They do, in fact, fight crime, but also superheroes (who also don't understand her), ape-men, gross boys, and Lunella's own genome. (Apparently there's some larger event in the Marvel Dead-Tree Universe with aliens and genetic engineering and wandering clouds that make people mutate? At least it's not Nazi writers trying to appropriate Captain America.) Anyway, it is pretty cute and might make me want to play Masks.

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3 June 2017 - Saturday

Instead of taking a shower before the cleaners came and then going grocery shopping immediately after, I slept in and read Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have A Nemesis (Richard Roberts). Wow, that is so much doom for Penny! But it's not like it wasn't foreshadowed, and really, she was pretty much asking for it. The next book cannot come soon enough!

Sadly, according to the note at the end, the next book will be the last about Penny, although not the last in the setting. I didn't like I Did NOT Give That Spider Superhuman Intelligence! quite as much, but it would still be okay to have more along those lines.

I don't know if reading good middle-school-supers makes me more or less likely to work on my own subnovel, since I haven't done anything do it in months and months. Maybe I'm too stupid to edit, or maybe I'm too stupid to use Scrivener, but I'm definitely too stupid.

Om nom nom!

  • Nirvana in Fire 15-16: Well, that rival strategist has to feel pretty dim now, or maybe that her patron is dim for taking such a ham-handed approach. Also, I suspect things are not going to go well for [SPOILER], even though he does not deserve the doom.

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2 June 2017 - Friday

I tried to see Wonder Woman with Marith, but failed due to abject stupidity on my part and doomed Marith to an evening of filling out employment applications for a better job. This is because I suck.

We exchanged our tickets for ones on Monday. We'll see if that works any better.

Zeroes (Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti) is not quite superheroes, more like the urban fantasy equivalent. The YA protagonists have definite powers, mostly on the telepathy spectrum, but are by no means four-color. They don't exactly fight crime, but they do defeat criminals.

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1 June 2017 - Thursday

Marith remains not dead, although her feets are sad. I strongly approve of this non-dying trend, although perhaps she should get some better shoes! Also we watched some very silly Cowboy Bebop.

I want to say something about how Faye is not drawn as idealized, but I'm not sure it makes sense and I'm certainly not qualified to critique.

Faye by marithlizard (Sat Jun 3 12:25:09 2017)

I kinda think Faye's body is drawn as stylized, but her expressions, movement and personality are not? Like Misato in NGE, maybe, and to a lesser extent Lina Inverse. It's certainly not something we see often.

Re: Faye by marithlizard (Sun Jun 4 13:07:27 2017)

stylized > idealized. I knew what I meant, even if nobody else does!

Re: Faye by Trip (Tue Jun 6 10:51:03 2017)

Even her body, kind of. When she's on videophone from her personal ship, we always get a view right down her top, and her breasts hang down instead of bulging fanservicefully toward the viewer.

Yes, I am embarrassed to post this.

Re: Faye by marithlizard (Tue Jun 6 13:45:50 2017)

No, you're right. I was classing that under 'movement', since when she's drawn just standing still or in a pinup pose she does have a standard fanservice-type build. But she doesn't spend much time in the episodes like that, she usually sprawls around unselfconsciously the way Spike does.

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