Trip's Brain-Sucking Web Site

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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

5 Most Recent Comments
2019-02-28:  "frittata" by marithlizard
2019-02-11:  "Re: computer woes" by Trip
2019-02-11:  "Re: computer woes" by marithlizard
2019-02-11:  "Re: computer woes" by Trip
2019-02-11:  "computer woes" by marithlizard

24 May 2019 - Friday

Today I determined that we can't do the thing, which is not really surprising, but there was a huge thing so the person I wanted to ask about a rumored workaround for the thing was superbusy and I did not accomplish anything at all.

I have been at this job for months or weeks or what even is time anyway and I am still useless and probably they will compost me soon.


Oh, hey, look, even crazy vampires want to know their leader still has two brain cells to rub together.


The Sword of Summer, The Hammer of Thor, and The Ship of the Dead (Rick Riordan) are the "Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard" trilogy, which like the author's other works is about teenage demigods. Having lulled the Establishment into a false sense of security with the whitebread characters of his earlier books, he can now put in Muslim valkyries and genderfluid einherjar and elves with disabilities and dwarven fashion designers and they can't do anything about it because money!

These books are for preteens, so they have absolutely no sex in, which is kind of awkward when it comes to things like "Where did Freya get all this jewelry?".


Words: FAIL. I meant to do some but then it was a million o'clock at night.

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23 May 2019 - Thursday

I missed my chance at another ticket at work. Ugh.


Words: 181.

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22 May 2019 - Wednesday

No Mike, but we had everyone else, so Ken started us through the Eclipse Phase 2E playtest scenario. EP is a game that requires a lot of infodumping, and then we had to pick characters and get a mission briefing, so we had not reached the stage of rolling dice by the time we had to stop having fun, but everyone was having a good time and looking forward to doing more when Mike inevitably blows us off again.


Words: FAIL.

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21 May 2019 - Tuesday

Today I facilitated a customer meeting, which mostly involved wrangling a senior person, but then I got to listen to him rant about the product for an hour, so that was educational.


Apparently Marith spends her time reading about what people on the Internet like, and they still really like Castlevania, so we tried starting the second season. At least now they're doing something, instead of just trying to get the PCs together. It's still weird for animated characters to say "fuck", though.

Elementary was the "oh, looks like Julian Assange and Anonymous are a thing this week" episode.


Words: FAIL.

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20 May 2019 - Monday

I almost did a ticket today, but the guy who gets to all tickets right away got to it first. Bah.


Apparently Rotten Tomatoes likes Castlevania, so we watched the rest of the first "season" (really more of an extended pilot), but Marith still sees nothing in it. I liked the bishop-eating monster, but it didn't last long.

Elementary didn't get P=NP entirely wrong, just wrong for all practical purposes and also technically wrong (which must be the best kind of wrong).


Blood Echo (Christopher Rice) is the sequel to Bone Music but does not address any of the issues related to the behavior of bodies. Also their entire endeavor could use an ethicist. Maybe several. With shock prods.

Loot Harder is another treasure (meaning magic item) supplement for 13th Age. Many of the items have interesting descriptions, but are hampered by being written up in the 13th Age paradigm.


Words: FAIL.

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19 May 2019 - Sunday

Since we finished Jeremy's campaign, this week Dave ran the first part of the Sentinel Comics RPG starter kit! I'd already played it when Robert ran it in Roseville (but also only the first issue) so maybe I was kind of helpful, but anyway Dave explained everything and we chose characters (Deirdre: Absolute Zero; Edie: Wraith; Jeremy: Legacy; Rachel: Bunker; Trip: Unity) and figured out the mechanics with the aid of many small sticky notes and beat up the spiderbots. Everyone seemed to like it, so we will try the second issue next fortnight! Poor Hazel will get stuck with Tachyon, because she was visiting colleges or something silly like that.


Based on Earl's recommendation, we tried watching Castlevania, but after two episodes Marith decided it was too much grossness for not enough interestingness. Instead we started S2 of Elementary, which had some character growth. Also tourist shots of London.


Gleipnir (Sun Takeda) is about strange transformations and terrible people and mysterious tokens and a vending machine of surreality. It deserves the M rating, but I want to know what is going on!


Words: FAIL.

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18 May 2019 - Saturday

I meant to do the thing early, but I was lazy so I ended up doing the thing at the normal time. Oh well.

In the evening, Eurovision! We had Earl and Cat as well as the usual suspects, and we ate many hummuses and Cat and Ayse got somewhat tipsy and we listened to many songs and the snarky BBC commentator (VPN for the win!) and eventually it was very late, but Eurovision called people all across the world to get numbers and added them up and the wrong song won, so we went home to sleep. Eurovision!


Words: FAIL.

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17 May 2019 - Friday

There was a happy hour thing at work, but I completely failed to mingle because I suck at humaning.


We failed to game on Wednesday for various germ-related reasons, but we called tonight's Gloomhaven scenario a gaming night and had delicious Thai food in accordance with the ancient prophecies (extended dance remix). I got a ride down to San Jose with Brooks because he was out of work early, which was very nice of him but confirms my belief that driving is not the way to go.

We did a cave full of drakes that ended in a TPK before, but that's because they didn't have a murder rat. (Recountings of the first room differed, but I choose to believe the one where it took ages to get through the fire demons' retaliation and damage reduction, because it makes mind controlling one demon to shoot the other and take the retaliation more impressive.) It did take until 23:00, so it's for the best that we didn't try to play on Wednesday.

Now the murder rat has enough money to add +1 Move to Scurry, which is ¾ of the way to completing her personal goal! I think the class that she unlocks is already unlocked, though.


Bone Music (Christopher Rice, who is apparently Anne Rice's offspring but we shouldn't hold that against him) starts off like a thriller but is at least a technothriller once the maguffin appears. So far it's all about the serial killers, and none about the fact that bodies just don't work that way (in either the biochemical or Newtonian sense), so maybe it should be filed as superhero fiction, which is always fantasy no matter how many mad scientists are involved. Bonus points for gay people being just as stupid as straight people, I guess?

A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods (ed Jennifer Brozek) is an short anthology of teenagers vs the Mythos, in various forms. Sometimes they are steadfast teenagers, sometimes they are corrupt teenagers, but most of the stories are good. I plan to look for more stuff by some of the authors!


Words: FAIL.

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16 May 2019 - Thursday

I now have the power to make changes to documentation on the website! But there's still reviewers between me and ultimate power, boo.


Hey, look, I'm caught up on this stupid blog! Also I have configured my phone to bug the absolute crap out of me about going to bed. It's not really adulting, but it's something.


We have finished the first season of Elementary! Holmes vs Moriarty, in brain-to-brain combat!


I keep reading books by Stephen Hunt because they're almost good, but then they don't quite make it, and Empty Between The Stars is no exception. I think it might be good if the enhanced intellects were actually smarter than unaugmented humans, but really it's just a James Bond movie in the future of AI gods: dashing male agent, plenty of gadgets, named female characters are either comic relief or are superlatively beautiful and drag him into bed, dead bodies littering the landscape. The ideological divide was good, though.


Words: FAIL.

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15 May 2019 - Wednesday

Sitting up to use the large monitor seems to make me less sleepy than hunching over the laptop, which is good.


No gaming because everyone is busy or dead or something.


Elementary is entering the end-of-season death spiral with the antepenultimate episode. That's a cliffhanger, all right!


Alysha's Fall (MCA Hogarth) are the first book and prequel in one of the author's earlier "Peltedverse" series. It turns out Alysha's backstory is in fact every bit as horrible and traumatic as Second implies, but she might have gained wisdom from it.

Hell Divers (Nicholas Sansbury Smith) is basically a summer blockbuster movie in book form, right down to the plucky kid and the unnecessarily glowing equipment. It would probably be an okay movie, but that's about the level of worldbuilding it has.

The 13th Age Book of Demons starts off with a demonologist class that, like all 13th Age classes, is an interesting idea implemented with too many fiddly bits that don't make enough of a difference and then goes into bunch of hellholes in varying levels of detail, all of which would make great adventures, and ends with a description of a possible First Triumph (terrifying and fascist) and suggestions for the Diabolist's lair (terrifying and surreal). Great ideas dragged down by a system that (to be charitable) I just don't get.


Words: FAIL.

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14 May 2019 - Tuesday

Now I have a regular weekly one-on-one with my supervisor (I think she's not technically my manager, just team lead), just like a real employee. But I am still not very smart.


In the first volume of Witch Hat Atelier (Kamome Shirahama), a young girl ends up being apprenticed to a magician because she found out the dark secret and the "real" apprentices all hate her and there is some intrigue going on with how she found out and the art is very pretty.

The Child Prince (Honor Raconteur) is also about magic and magicians and not D&D. It's what would have been standard fantasy before D&D ate everything, with a cursed prince and a wizard living in a giant earth elemental and dragons and everything. Definite bonus points for having magic that is fairy kisses and crystallized sunlight, not reskinned electricity.

All The Different Shades of Blue (WR Gingell) is a pretty short piece in the "Between..." settings, which lets us see Pet from an external perspective, and she's really kind of terrifying.


We aren't even done with the first of six seasons of Elementary and it looks like the Moriarty plot is about explode. What will they do for five more seasons?


Words: FAIL.

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13 May 2019 - Monday

I still have some coughing, but not as much, so hopefully I was less offensive to my coworkers today. Also I tried doing a ticket, but I did it wrong, so it's just as well the person who knows what he's doing is the one who actually responded to the customer.


Apparently it's not only the viewers who think that something fishy is going on in the Land of the Lustrous, but the season ended before Phos could actually find anything out, or even find out what momentous pronouncement Sensei had!


Make Me No Grave (Hayley Stone) has fantasy elements, but it's mostly about redemption and moral ambiguity and gunfights, because it's a Western.

The art style of Yuri Bear Storm (Ikunigomakinako, Akiko Morishima) makes it look like standard high-school shoujo, but really it's super gay and I don't mean in some subtextual or metaphorical way and everyone remembers their childhood as fairytales and some people can see the secret truth that everything is made of lesbian bears that want to date and/or devour human girls and as of volume 2 the sex is definitely real and the anthropophagy hasn't been ruled out!


Words: FAIL.

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12 May 2019 - Sunday

Finally I managed to see Avengers: Endgame! I might have seen it sooner if I had anyone to go with, but Marith never saw Infinity War and no one else watches movies.

It was pretty good! I'm not sure I support how everyone ended up, I think some people should have done better and some worse, but overall it was good. Also, [SPOILER], wow.


I texted my mom for Mother's Day, and ended up talking awkwardly to her on the phone for like an hour. I am so bad at phones.


Watched more Elementary. Finally, they have a housekeeper named Hudson! Also clever criminals, and Joan is getting better at detection because Holmes is being less of a butt.


O Maidens In Your Savage Season (Mari Okada, Nao Emoto) is about high-school girls who end up reading novels with sex scenes for their literature club and get in a tizzy about sex and then more of a tizzy because sex is actually a thing that other people do and then angst because of so much tizzy &c. But no yuri in the first volume, what is even wrong with these people?


Words: FAIL.

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11 May 2019 - Saturday

I still have the coughing, so I wimped out and rode the bus to grocery shopping. This would have been more indulgent if I hadn't had to run the last block to catch the bus that was rerouted due to some thing happening in Willow Glen.

  • Sailor Moon Super S 156: I think this is the first target we've seen that didn't have even a standard pink magic soul. Maybe that's why whatsertoes was able to blandish him?
  • RWBY 1.11-15: Jaune's secret, and Blake's secret. Also, Penny.
  • A Place Further Than The Universe 12-13: The emotional and triumphant end!
  • Fruits Basket (2019) 5: I remember the "Tohru goes back to her horrible relatives" arc taking longer in the manga, but for her sake, I'm glad it only lasted one episode!

Pet develops even more alarming powers and her Behindkind are even bigger gits in Between Floors (WR Gingell).


Words: FAIL, but Ayse may have persuaded me to watch less TV with Marith and banish her to her bioexclusion zone so I can write and/or go to bed at a sensible hour. Maybe.

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10 May 2019 - Friday

Today I had less mucus, but more coughing. I watched a lot of training videos, so presumably now I am not less ept than a customer.


We watched some more Land of the Lustrous, and yikes! Phos was kind of annoying before, but I don't think this new improved Phos is better!


Words: FAIL.

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9 May 2019 - Thursday

Today I evolved into a being composed of 100% hand-crafted artisanal mucus. I feel bad for the person at an adjacent desk.

There was a technical meeting, but my brain is too small.


Sherlock Holmes is not just the worst roommate, but the worst mentor.


Smokin' Parade (Jinsei Kataoka, Kazuma Kondou) is very meh. I mean, it has cyborgs fighting monsters, and naked women bathing in tubs full of eyeballs and blood, but it doesn't speak to me.

On The Shoulders of Titans (Andrew Rowe) is the sequel to Sufficiently Advanced Magic. It does address some of the plot threads already in existence, but mostly by adding more mysteries. This is not a bad approach.


Words: FAIL.

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8 May 2019 - Wednesday

I got some extra brain from special training session, but people are so busy I don't have much chance to feed on their neurons.


Brooks doesn't work where I thought he did, so I can't easily carpool with him, but it turns out the extended dance remix of my regular commute gets me to gaming at the same time as him.

This week, we annoyed the lamia until she noticed us breaking in and used the Gong of No Saving Throw to disable us while she scarpered. Then we broke in very slowly and cautiously, accomplishing little. At least I got to turn into a giant spider, but no one really cared next to Mike's character doing as much damage in one round as the entire party has in hit points. Because D&D.


Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Andrew Rowe) is in the very specific subgenre where the author creates an involved and numerically quantifiable magic system and the main character learns it. Part of this involves giant structures full of impossible architecture, contrived puzzles, and monsters with no means of support, but on the other hand, ace and genderfluid representation.


Words: FAIL.

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7 May 2019 - Tuesday

I didn't fall asleep during the scrum meeting this time!


In Between Shifts (WR Gingell), Pet has to go undercover at a supermarket, because more monsters. She still doesn't give any supernaturals any respect whatsoever, because they don't deserve it.

The Singularity Trap (Dennis E Taylor) is about humans surviving alien attention through game theory and general obnoxiousness. It does have some modern stuff, but really it feels like a story from some decades ago.


Another couple episodes of Land of the Lustrous. Hm, that's interesting!


Words: FAIL.

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6 May 2019 - Monday

I went to work and did um something. Read docs, I guess. It was not actually that exciting.


Watched more Elementary. Ah, the drama of rent-controlled apartments in New York.


Between Jobs (WR Gingell) is the story of a nameless, off-the-grid teenager in Tasmania who gets adopted as a housekeeper/pet (not like that!) for a trio of monster-hunting monsters. She does not give them the respect they feel they deserve because frankly, they're all gits. Also something weird is clearly going on with her. Good descriptions of the multiple levels of reality blending into each other.


Words: FAIL.

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5 May 2019 - Sunday

Little did we know when we planned to meet for PAD&D5 today that it was going to be the grand finale of the campaign!

First we played the battle of the [SPOILER] who were stuck to the walls last session, along with Hazelrae and Lance, to take back their clockwork spaceship from the [SPOILER]. The drink dispenser was a complete writeoff, but the chupaqueso dispenser and the ships's cat lizard mascot survived intact. Plasma cannon for the win!

Once the disposition of the spaceship was settled, we switched back to the rest of the Heroines of Redlarch, who were in an infinite void with infinite quantities of [SPOILER] pouring into the abyss beneath them and infinite quantities of [SPOILER] somewhere infinitely far that way, and a huge creature representing each of those there to eat the Heroines (and everything else). There were also additional [SPOILER] who needed to get back to the looming spaceship to bring it to full combat effectiveness.

The Heroines collectively have the tactical sense of a rutabaga, but it just so happens they decide to focus on one huge beast first and let the spaceship (with Hazelrae and some [SPOILER] keep the other busy, and it turns out to be the right thing to do. Hardly anyone gets swept over the edge into the abyss, and Akrá gets rescued by Lance and conveyed to the spaceship to man one of the secondary weapons (somehow we determined it was the chupacabra machine, I accept no responsibility for this) so it's all good.

Having now defeated all four [SPOILER], the Heroines of Red Larch are deemed the winners, and the world is saved! No one expected that, but there it is!

Next, Dave will run the Sentinels of the Multiverse quickstart pack and we'll see if people like it. If so, we will punish him by making him run more.


We watched some Elementary and some Land of the Lustrous. One of these involved a giant snail.


Words: FAIL.

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4 May 2019 - Saturday

The cleaners are only once a month at this point, which doesn't seem to have made Marith explode, but I don't know that she'd tell me. Maybe she spends all the time I'm at work huffing the filtered air from her atmosphere cleanser.

I meant to go shopping on time, but was distracted by reading, so everything was terrible.


  • RWBY 1.10: Ruby's first leadership crisis!
  • A Place Further Than The Universe 10-11: Hurray, they made it to the base! And it hasn't been taken over by shoggoths! Their youtube comments might have been taken over by social climbers, though.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 2 8: Aww, Reina taking care of sick Kumiko!
  • Fruits Basket (2019) 4: Kagura's violence no longer seems as funny, for some reason.

I'd read the beta of the 13th Age Book of Ages (Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan) and the published version seems substantially identical. It's still full of great ideas, I just don't want to use D&D to play them!

In Empowered and the Soldier of Love (Adam Warren, Karla Diaz), Empowered has to save the city (again) because her teammates are useless (even more than usual) from a magical girl with the powers of love and a magic pangolin. This goes about as well as you might expect. Notable for not having Adam Warren art because, according to the author notes, he can't draw frilly stuff and would probably die if he tried, which seems legit based on his existing art.


Words: FAIL.

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3 May 2019 - Friday

After four days of wearing grown-up shirts, I ran out of ones that I like, so I tried wearing a tshirt with my slacks. Apparently I use my forearms for cooling but not my calves, because I felt about 73% less stuffy. Also no one pointed and laughed (especially not the guy sitting one row in front of me in the office, who wears cargo shorts and cusses like a sailor but is the VP of Eng), so I think that's about as much of a grownup as I can be for now.


I'm surprised it took this long for Elementary to introduce Col Sebastian Moran and Moriarty, but clearly they are in this for the multi-season haul.

As advertised, Land of the Lustrous is about living gems, but is nothing at all like Steven Universe! It is very mysterious, in fact, but also nonbinary (although it's hard not to see the gems as female a lot of the time). We'll have to see where it goes.


The latest book from Eva Darrows, Belly Up, is not genre like The Awesome but I liked it a lot anyway. It is about a teenaged girl who ends up pregnant, but it is not horrible because she has an awesome family and best friend. Surprisingly, it is not even as intense as Dead Little Mean Girl.


Words: FAIL.

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2 May 2019 - Thursday

The first event was a little later today, and also I knew what I was doing, so I was able to sleep in more than yesterday, but not as much as I would have liked. Also the train didn't work quite right, but I couldn't do anything except wait for them to get their act together, so overall the morning could definitely have been worse

This second (and thankfully final) day of the user summit was presentations by customers about what they were doing with the product. Some of the presentations were pretty bad (poor English, which as a monolingual I can't actually condemn, but it might have been better to have someone else deliver the presentation; terrible unreadable slides; general scatteredness), but others were good, even if I did sometimes think, "wow, the capitalism is really piling up in here". But someone has been running the product for eight years without downtime, which makes supporting it seem both more and less doable. Also, the new nonvolatile memory from Intel looks really slick.

I undoubtedly should have stuck aorund to network, but my brain hurt after two days of conference, and the food wasn't as appealing, so I left right after the last scheduled thing.


Today's commute reading was Last Bastion (Rachel Aaron, Travis Bach), the sequel to Forever Fantasy Online. Unfortunately, this volume is also all about the immediate battles (and Roxxy being a butthead), not about how this predicament came to exist for them to even be in, and not even much about suddenly being in new different bodies. The very last line suggests that we might get some of that in the next book, but is probably false cake.


Words: FAIL.

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1 May 2019 - Wednesday

I didn't want to, but I got up at 4:30 to walk to the train station to ride the train to San Francisco to ride a bus to the hotel where the user summit is being held. It actually worked out just fine, which is good, because I'm not sure I could have handled any deviations from the plan.

The summit had many people, and it was very warm, and a lot of people don't know how to give presentations, but except for when I was falling asleep it was reasonably informative. The morning was mostly technical stuff, which I need to know, so that was good. Also they gave us plenty of food, with a buffet including dim sum for dinner.

On the commute home, I finished Spinning Silver (Naomi Novik), which was very good. It is the best version of Rumplestiltskin but it is also Beauty and the Beast and several more fairy tales combined into one coherent narrative and all the women are brave and smart and all the men are beautiful gits and it is great! Also Jewish.

Then when I finally got home, we watched the last two episodes of Planet With, which were a bit Gurren Laganish. I think the series was a little long, there was too much fighting and not enough philosophy, but I do not demand those six hours of my life back or anything, and it's always good to see compassion and forgiveness espoused as virtues.

I have to get up again tomorrow.


Words: FAIL.

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30 April 2019 - Tuesday

Hm, this commute gets even more annoying if the bus for the first leg is late. Bah!

But I did get to work, and managed to follow simple instructions, which people professed to be amazed by. They didn't even fire me!


Avalon is still alive, but her work is even crazier. One might think a boss who teaches classes in giving feedback could do a performance review sanely, but apparently one would be sorely mistaken.

I meant to go to bed early, but didn't do a very good job.


Words: FAIL.

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29 April 2019 - Monday

It takes about an hour and a half to get to work, which is certainly not the worst commute ever, or even in living memory, but does seem like it after my 20-minute commute at my last job. Bah.

I shook many hands, and got assigned a lot of reading, and also learned that I need to be at the customer summit in San Francisco on Wednesday and Thursday.

The summit starts at 8:00.


Words: FAIL.

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28 April 2019 - Sunday

Ken invited me to play Gloomhaven, but I have to get up and go to work tomorrow, so I sadly declined. I did not accomplish anything else today, either.


We finished the demiseason of She-Ra, and it continued to be good. Also, doomed.


Words: FAIL.

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27 April 2019 - Saturday

Today I went to "Spring Fling" at Jus and Nonny's school. (Marith did not go because there was sun and allergens and also she is made of stress.) There was also running, although not as much as last year on Jus and Nonny's part. Jus's friend ran at least 17 miles, though, which is just crazy for a 3rd-grader!

Then I went shopping and tried to meet up with Marith to go to anime, but she betrayed me by already being there to talk to Dave about her computer and also show him a bunch of RWBY! But I made it anyway, so there!


Words: FAIL.

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26 April 2019 - Friday

Yay, the new season of She-Ra is out! We only managed to watch the first four episodes because my brain is so small, but it was good! Poor Scorpia! Poor Adora! Shadowweaver backstory! Hordak backstory and goals!


Words: 360, but my words do not count as success. Marith's do, though.

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25 April 2019 - Thursday

We watched some more Elementary, but wanted something to contrast it with, so we watched Planet With from the computer. Finally, the [SPOILER] Faction makes their big move!


Words: FAIL.

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24 April 2019 - Wednesday

Ken's germs are less alarming this week, so we had everyone available for Kelsey's D&D5 adventure! This session, our heroes(?) managed to obtain camels and other essential supplies and travel into the desert, where they ended up at what they're pretty sure is the Screaming Place. No, overly friendly monster, we would not like to come in and enjoy your hospitality!


A Memory Called Empire (Arkady Martine) is about brains, culture, diplomacy, identity, poetry, treason, and all sorts of other good things! It is definitely in the same sub-genre as Ancillary Justice, and the cover promises sequels!


Words: FAIL.

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23 April 2019 - Tuesday

Ugh, Planet With is in the new format that doesn't work on the ancient Crunchyroll app on my ancient Apple TV. Maybe I should upgrade to something that's not abandoned by the manufacturer.

So we watched like three episodes of Elementary, and Holmes is still the worst roommate ever. Also some people died.


Words: FAIL.

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22 April 2019 - Monday

Since I have a signed offer letter, I called the other company that wanted to interview me and offered condolences that they wouldn't be able to hire me this time.


After some delay due to not being very smart, I read volumes four and five of Made in Abyss (Akihito Tsukushi). Well, that was dark and terrifying!


Words: FAIL.

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21 April 2019 - Sunday

Finally the germ count is low enough for Jeremy to run PAD&D5, but Deirdre has broken a crown and must seek emergency dental care on Easter Sunday, which sounds like the exact opposite of fun. :( But if we have N-1, we must game!

Since none of us were at the last session, Jeremy summarized how, with the help of [SPOILER], we successfully assaulted [SPOILER] and destroyed it with [SPOILER], but then everything collapsed and the tentacles came. (But Hazelrae was abducted by multidimensional rings of light just before everything went to hell, again.)

The former Heroines of Red Larch, now hanging out in a water-filled place of bad angles as the chief lieutenants of the Divine Masters (aka [SPOILER]) have to compete with each other for status and power. When the struggle inevitably turns violent (coughMaracough), the Heroines reduced to 0 HP wake back up in their right minds, courtesy of the Crystal Dragon. Then they have to deal with their erstwhile minions, but that's not very difficult. There's a reason those guys were only minions.

But, near the end of the battle before Lamthanc has been cured, a hideous demon grabs her holy axe and runs off with it! The Heroines chase it into another place full of bad angles and also tentacle monsters and foul water. As usual, Rimardo complains about being useless and then pretty much wins the encounter single-handedly, so Lam does get her axe back, although it has demon cooties all over it. Also, the [SPOILER] who helped them last session are stuck to the walls of the place with tentacles (boo!) and still bear the marks of being servents of the [SPOILER]. And if that wasn't enough, this is clearly all taking place back [SPOILER]! The Heroines are in quite a pickle, and time to save the world is running out!


Even though I hate cars being used for only my benefit, I let Ayse and Ken talk Marith into coming and fetching me from gaming, because there wasn't any other way I was going to make it to Easter dinner. (She drove Dave too, but he doesn't eat, drink, or make merry, so he was just a bonus.) So I did make it, and Earl and Cat were there, and Ken made me delicious salmon to eat instead of ham, and then we watched an episode of Love Death + Robots that I think was by John Scalzi and everyone went home because some people who are not me have to go to work tomorrow.


Words: FAIL.

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20 April 2019 - Saturday

The kids made eggs bright pastel colors, because it is that time of year.


This is the fourth day in a row I've been at Monkeycats'.

  • Sailor Moon Super S 154: Venus, Jupiter, do not fight over the cute guy! It only plays into the enemy's hands!
  • RWBY 1.1-2: Since we ran out of things to watch while Ayse and Ken are busy, we're showing Dave RWBY. He doesn't hate it yet!
  • Fruits Basket (2019) 1-2: Hurray for the new Furuba! I have not read the manga as many dozens of times as some people, but it seems like this anime is sticking pretty close.

Words: FAIL.

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19 April 2019 - Friday

The actual offer letter arrived today, and none of the questions I had would actually make a difference to whether I signed it, so I did. Now I provisionally work for Aerospike unless someone calls them up and tells them horrible things about me before I start on Monday week.

This is both less stressful, in that now I know I'm not doomed, but also more stressful because I have a definite thing that I have to do and it involves new people augh!


Ayse and Jus are out doing Girl Scout camping, leaving Ken bereft (after Nonny goes to bed), so we had more Gloomhaven. Unfortunately, after about an hour I rushed forward too aggressively and things went so badly that we decided to restart the scenario. We technically finished before midnight, but then I had to get home, so blargh. Also the new 4th level card didn't get to be amazing, because the enemies were strung our in a line instead of clumped up.

Ken completed the life goal he drew for the Cragheart, which was to murder X number of vermlings, so we got our first character retirement!


I finally finished reading the existing nine volumes of Ms. Marvel (G Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, et al), and it was about as good as people said! I mean, it's a comic, so many parts are kind of silly, but Kamala is awesome and her friends and family are awesome and it is about modern problems like old people ruined the world and gentrification and AIs learn about humanity from the Internet and creeping fascism. It is sad that the things Kamala does in other comics aren't also collected, but I blame capitalism.

Anyway, now I want to play Masks: A New Generation!


Words: FAIL.

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18 April 2019 - Thursday

Marith's computer broke, so I dashed over to my old workplace to take them up on their offer to sell me my old laptop for $100 before it expired. Then we took the broken computer over for Dave to look at, which occupied some time but produced no immediate results.


Words: FAIL.

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17 April 2019 - Wednesday

I talked to the guy from the company on the phone, and he made me a verbal offer which sounds pretty good! Of course I need to keep looking until I have an actual offer letter signed, but perhaps I will not die in the gutter as I deserve!


Ayse need someone to watch Nonny while her and Jus did Girl Scout stuff in the afternoon, so I went over to the school and chased him around going "RAAR" and chased some of his friends around and chased some kids he had never met before around and eventually we went back to their place for dinner and gaming.

Everyone except Mike was scared of the germs, so it was just the four of us (I don't care about germs and Ken and Dave live there), which is coincidentally the right number for Gloomhaven.

I finally bought my murder rat some enhancements as suggested by the Internets (+1 range on a stunning attack, strengthen as a bonus on a self-heal), so now she(?) is halfway to retirement! That's the easy half, since getting more enhancements requires either raising the town prosperity by a lot or getting a lot of money to double-enhance actions, but someday perhaps it can be done.

Not today, though, because in exchange for two checkmarks, I gave up all looting. Those checkmarks and finally reaching level 4 got her two perks, though, so I think it was probably worthwhile. Also, I killed the boss!


Words: FAIL.

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16 April 2019 - Tuesday

I had another video interview with the company I visited yesterday, with the hiring manager's counterpart in the EMEA region, who is also the person designated to ask the "tell me about a time in your career when X happened and what you did about it" questions. I think that went pretty well.

I did another phone call with a recruiter, which may or may not go anywhere, so that was two job-hunting things in one morning.


To provide contrast with Elementary, we started watching Planet With because it was highly recommended by Anime Feminist. It is definitely in a specific genre, but I cannot think what the defining examples are. Maybe I'm imagining it. Anyway, it is pretty silly even though the future of humanity is ostensibly at stake.


Words: FAIL.

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15 April 2019 - Monday

Today is the day of interviews! I started off the day with the phone interview that had been rescheduled from Friday. It was okay, but I'm not sure I want to do more front-end stuff. I also don't want to starve in the gutter, though.

Then I put on long pants and a button-up shirt and dragged my sorry butt to Mountain View for an in-person interview with the company that sent me the training materials last week. It took a long time to get there, which could be a problem if I want to work there, but I'm pretty sure I can optimize the route better.

Anyway, I spent about an hour on video with the manager of the position for which I am applying, and an hour in person with her manager (who is also the one I did the video interview with last week). I think it went pretty well, or at least I did not appear stupider than I actually am, and they seem like they want reasonable things from an employee, so I am somewhat optimistic.

Then I had to trundle home, which also took forever, because San Antonio is one of the Scorned Stations.


When I got home, we watched some Elementary, the one where Sherlock Holmes is a recovering drug addict in New York and Joan Watson is his sobriety minder. It is not hard mystery, but then the original Holmes wasn't really either.

Holmes is always the worst roommate.

Words: FAIL.

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14 April 2019 - Sunday

Normally today would be PAD&D5, but everyone in Gollubland is sick, so no gaming for us.


We finished The Promised Neverland, which had plans and reversal and doom and reversal and finally the thing! It's a good place to leave it, although I bet the manga goes into what happens after that.


Words: FAIL.

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13 April 2019 - Saturday

  • Sailor Moon Super S 152-153: Jus was good, so we got two episodes! One about Mars getting an admirer, and the Infamous Dentist Episode.
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 12: The end!
  • Hibike! Euphonium 2 5-6: Victory! But there are still more victories that need to be won before Reina and Kumiko can rule Japan with iron fists smooch take home a national trophy.

Words: FAIL.

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12 April 2019 - Friday

The guy from the place was supposed to call me about job stuff, but failed to do so. Apparently a thing came up, which is hardly unknown in the support field. He will try again on Monday.


Words: FAIL.

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11 April 2019 - Thursday

I finished going through the training materials, and it mostly made sense although I think they could have been clearer. But, I know a little bit about databases and Linux, so I figured it out. Then I did the InterviewMocha test, which was very stressful because it was timed and apparently deliberately set so that you can't finish unless you are really very good indeed. Ugh.


The latest comic Carl has been taken by is Die (Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, Clayton Cowles). He loaned it to Ayse, who loaned it to me, and it is pretty good, at least the first four issues. (I am pretty sure there have to be twenty issues in total.) Crazed DM makes players incarnate as their characters using cursed dice, they never tell anyone about the experience, decades later they are sucked back in and everything is even worse this time, in every conceivable way. It's not stock (or even misinterpreted) D&D, the writer is a long-time gamer and invented an extra-dark fantasy world and system and then provided essays on how he developed all of this stuff that make me realize I am not qualified to either game or write. Bonus: cross-playing not treated as a joke.


Netflix is working again, so we finished Hilda. It remained pretty awesome all the way to the end!

Then we watched more Promised Neverland, which is so full of doom. Even more doom than we may have originally thought.


Words: FAIL.

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10 April 2019 - Wednesday

I started going through the training materials, and taking notes on the questions I had which were not answered. Overall it was pretty clear, though, and I was able to figure out the installation process.


Kelsey had to bail out of gaming, so instead of getting the horrible doom of her adventure, we started Mike's 13th Age Glorantha! The doom was not horrible, although that's probably coming since we've been sent on a heroquest by a cat. (Okay, really by Kallyr Starbrow, but the cat is the one giving us instructions.)


Words: FAIL.

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9 April 2019 - Tuesday

I think the video interview went well. The position seems a lot like my job before last, which I liked until there was large company stuff. Now I have some training materials and some EC2 instances so they can see if I can figure out how to install their product on my own. Also some kind of online test thing, which I heard from my former coworkers is becoming more of a thing in the hiring process.

I have a phone interview with a different company scheduled for Friday morning. They don't seem as promising, but we'll see.


Netflix isn't working, so we had to watch The Promised Neverland instead. Well, that's a lot of doom. No, really, so much doom!


The Girl From the Other Side (Nagabe) seemed cute at first, with Teacher and Shiva doing domestic stuff, but by volume 5 it is pretty darn dark. I don't see how this can possibly end well.


Words: FAIL.

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8 April 2019 - Monday

I had a couple of phone calls about jobs today. Just recruiters, but one set me up the video interview with an actual hiring manager tomorrow, which sounds promising. Also I took a key back to the office and worried about money but could not get a severance check today.


We watched more Hilda, it was still wonderful even though Hilda's mother is oppressing her horribly.


Words: FAIL.

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7 April 2019 - Sunday

I managed to find a copy of my resume from when I applied to Arcadia, so I don't have to start from scratch, but it's terrible. On the other hand, my resume has always been terrible and people sometimes hire me anyway. Ugh.


Date night with Avalon! We did the watching-videos-simultaneously thing, and it worked pretty well, except that the video we chose was Unicorn Store, and it was not good. Like, unwatchable. So we switched to The Office and watched like four episodes. Fortunately almost everyone in that show is equally terrible, so watching them scheme ineptly against each other is funny instead of tragic. (Although I suppose it might be metatragic.)


I have finally, so long after Carl recommended it, read The Unstoppable Wasp (Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson), and it is pretty good! Wasp is so good-hearted and loves people so much and the deck is so stacked against her but G.I.R.L. will triumph! Also, "snappy dresser" is apparently code for "lesbian", which everyone knew, right?


Words: FAIL.

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6 April 2019 - Saturday

I had to admit to Ayse and Ken that I can no longer afford to provide them with many treats every Saturday. I am a poor friend!


  • Sailor Moon Super S 151: Ami has artistic skills too! And now, more power!
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 11: I wonder when this is supposed to be set? I can't imagine a town large enough to have a bus not having a cell tower in the current decade!
  • Hibike! Euphonium 2 3-4: Finally we learn Taki-sensei's dark past! Also, Nozore is seaworthy again.
  • A Place Further Than The Universe 8: Sea travel can be exactly as horrible as it's cracked up to be! But icebergs.

Words: FAIL.

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5 April 2019 - Friday

Last day. No one did anything, we all just sat around in the office in shock, leavers and remainers alike. (I refrained from saying, "And the living shall envy the dead" to the people who now have to handle the customer base of a company three times the size, but I sure thought it.) Eventually we all trickled away.

At least now I can file for unemployment.


Hilda continues to be adorable and somewhat surreal, even after Hilda's mother condemns her to a horrible fate.


The hero of Black Torch (Tsuyoshi Takaki) has the power to talk to animals, but after the ninja and youkai parts of the plot take off, that's almost neglected. Too bad, it's an interestingly non-attack power for a monster hunter.


Words: 86, so FAIL. I didn't even write a new resume.

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4 April 2019 - Thursday

Mandatory all-hands meeting on one hour notice? Eh, I'm sure it's nothing important.


So, uh, my last day at this job is tomorrow. Same for about 2/3 of the company.

In terms of head count, this puts the company back to where it was when I was hired four years ago, so although it's not actually the same set of people remaining, I don't take it personally that I'm not in that core. Nevertheless, this could have happened at a better time (like not right after I invested all my money in cat organs).

Well.


Words: FAIL.

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3 April 2019 - Wednesday

More of Kelsey's D&D5 adventure! We travelled by sea, beat up some dinosaurs, and arrived in a foreign land where they don't like our kind. Also my character got to use the Radula spell and turn into a fine dog.


Now I'm caught up through vol 6 of Flying Witch (Chihiro Ishizuka), and it is still super-adorable.


Words: FAIL.

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2 April 2019 - Tuesday

I went to a different doctor than last week. She was actually busy so I saw an NP instead, but the NP was very pleased with my existence, so that was good.


We watched the second episode of Story of Ming Lan, but it still wasn't grabbing us, so we switched to Hilda, and the first two episodes are awesome. The art style seems very Scandinavian, although I'm not sure I could say why, and Hilda is awesome and not a boy. It might be a little bit scary, but I bet Jus and Nonny would both like it.


Words: I reread some, but mostly FAIL.

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1 April 2019 - Monday

I dreamt that the angels wrote on the sky in letters of fire, "The gospel can no longer be expressed in SQL. Please see the last version at [mysterious celestial glyph]." A few years later, "The gospel can now be expressed in SQL with finite recursion. Please see the latest version at [mysterious celestial glyph that might be subtly different]."


We finished season 1 of gen:LOCK. For TV SF, that was actually pretty good! The characters do not have a philosophical foundation for the life they are living, which makes things interesting.


Words: 112. So technically not a fail, but it's not any better then before.

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31 March 2019 - Sunday

No gaming. I did manage to go shopping a bit, which is, um, something? Also we watched some more gen:LOCK. One of the plot twists is something that would be a cliche in a setting with more mature uploading tech like Eclipse Phase, which is kind of cool.


In volume 14 of Yotsuba&! (Kiyohiko Azuma), Yotsuba goes to Tokyo and saves the Earth from aliens! Also we see more of her family. (We saw her grandma in vol 13.)


Words: FAIL.

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30 March 2019 - Saturday

Ken is not up to cooking, so instead Ayse got us all Vietnamese food. Roast duck soup with extra noodles was too much, but I regret nothing. Nothing!

  • Sailor Moon Super S 150: Finally, we see the Amazoness Quartet in action! They are much more efficient than the Amazon Trio.
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 10: Hurray for Renge!
  • A Place Further Than The Universe 7: Well, they made it out of Japan, and even on to a ship, despite their brains' best efforts! I totally symapthize with not liking it when people are considerate of you, though (even though I don't think it's actually a good thing).

Finally, I have finished rereading all thirteen previous volumes of Yotsuba&! (Kiyohiko Azuma). They are all adorable.


Words: FAIL.

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29 March 2019 - Friday

Ken has survived the Medical-Industrial (or should that be Medical-Financial?) Complex, hurray!


Instead of watching more Story of Ming Lan, we watched the first few episodes of Gen:LOCK, which is by the same team as RWBY but is cyberpunk mecha and has what I consider to be an excessive number of male characters. As always, the fight choreographers have not taken scaling laws into account for mecha combat, but the writing seems to be not quite as stupid as most visual SF about brain stuff.

Words: FAIL.

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28 March 2019 - Thursday

I was off-kilter all day because I went to the doctor for an annual checkup in the morning instead of going to work right away, but I did manage to kind of document a thing for a customer. Also I finished the birthday pie Ken made for me.


Neither Marith nor I had ever seen The Goonies, so we tried watching it, but the first ten minutes had approximately zero characters we didn't hate, so we gave up and instead watched the first episode of The Story of Ming Lan, which has at least one character we can root for. (It is by the same team as Nirvana in Fire so although I am not into it yet, there is considerable hope.)


Forever Fantasy Online (Rachel Aaron) is LitRPG, but something is definitely going on and there are consequences to having treated it like a game and I'm pretty sure there's going to be even more and worse doom in the next book and also catgirls.


Words: I sort of want to write pointless smutty fanfic involving some of the catgirls from FFO, but I am too old and full of antidepressants and also generally terrible, so FAIL.

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27 March 2019 - Wednesday

Ken was waffling about gaming, but finally succumbed and also provided barbecue foods to eat while Kelsey continued her D&D5E one-shot. Finally we are together and on our way!


Words: Still FAIL.

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26 March 2019 - Tuesday

Ghirardelli

12th Ocober 2003 -- 26th March 2019

He Will Always Be Missed

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25 March 2019 - Monday

That Ain't Witchcraft (Seanan McGuire) wraps up this story about the third Price kid and the horror she has gotten mixed up with. Of course the good guys win, but the collatoral damage is pretty low for McGuire! The ebook includes The Measure of a Monster, which is about the middle kid and some humans who deserve what happens to them.


Crunchyroll (or at least the app on my old Apple TV box) is failing us, but we managed to work around it to watch another couple episodes of AKB0048. Marith and I would totally be up for this if Ayse wanted to watch it at anime night!


Ghirardelli can't make it to the litterbox any more, which is the point I decided on. But it is late, so I will snuggle him for one more night and take him in in the morning.


Words: FAIL.

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24 March 2019 - Sunday

PAD&D5 time!

It's time to charge for the end of the module, so the Heroines of Red Larch leave the residents of Red Larch in a hopefully-safe place and head for the nearest enemy power source. The torrent of bad mojo pouring out of it makes this annoying, but also points them in the right direcation, so after a lot of dragging themselves along, they arrive at the heavily-defended bottleneck right before their goal. Unfortunately for the defenders, the Heroines now have AoE attacks, and the narrow space is turned against them. Muahahahahahaha!

Unfortunately for the Heroines, this takes long enough that everyone they want to clobber has escaped through the magic portal to the Temple of the Crystal Dragon and all they can do is dive after them. The collapsing portal spits the Heroines out elsewhere, but they make it back to the temple before the enemy leader can finish desecrating it, and engage the remaining enemy forces!

Despite Lam getting swallowed by a sewage elemental, the Heroines don't have much trouble cleaning up the enemy. They probably could have done it several levels ago, if they hadn't been busy with so much other doom. They even have enough money to pay for their temple to be steam-cleaned and have some new windows put in, having been saving up since the last time they visited Yartar 1d8-3 weeks ago.

Level UP!


Now that we have no more Gravity Falls, we tried watching The Magicians, but although it was cool, it did not have much in the way of sympathetic characters. (Maybe that's why it's so critically acclaimed?) After one episode, we switched to AKB0048, which Ayse spoke highly of. It is about interstellar battle idols, and is what the kids these days call "extra". So extra. And sparkly.


Words: FAIL.

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23 March 2019 - Saturday

Ken very kindly made the turkey chili I like and also parasite chocolate cream pie, and Jus and Nonny gave me handmade cards. Awwwww!

  • Sailor Moon Super S 148-149: So much for the *-Eye villains! But their arc did get resolved.
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 9: Still heartwarming.
  • A Place Further Than The Universe 5: Finally, they depart Japan!
  • Hibike! Euphonium 2 2: More on the Great Apostasy of the previous year, but only a little more toward Reina and Kumiko smooching.

Words: FAIL.

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22 March 2019 - Friday

That was quite a finale, but now we are done with Gravity Falls! What will we watch now?


Ghirardelli is still hanging in there. He has a few purrs when I cuddle him.


Words: FAIL.

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21 March 2019 - Thursday

Naked sword swallowing (not a euphemism; from We Hunted The Mammoth).

Automated smartphone app generation.

Synthetic purring.

My, the Internet certainly is full of things.


I used the synthetic purring to comfort Ghirardelli. I think he liked it, although he is so listless it is hard to tell. He laid down right next to it, anyway.


Today is my birthday, but mostly I spent it online complaining to Avalon and Sean that my cat is dying. Not very festive. There was virtual cake, though. And Marith made shrimp-tomato pasta yumminess.

Friends are nice.


Words: FAIL.

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20 March 2019 - Wednesday

Ghirardelli is still barely eating, but he is hanging in there. I think that is still good. We gave him a little fluids, maybe that will help.


In the evening, I went to Ken's for Thai food and, er, D&D5??! We finished making characters and Kelsey ran intros to get us all involved in the problem and on our way to Baldur's Gate. Dave is the only one who made an actual investigative character for this mystery-oriented adventure, so I will probably just die in the first encounter, but whatever.


Words: FAIL.

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19 March 2019 - Tuesday

We couldn't get a vet appointment, so I went home after lunch and we took Ghirardelli in as an urgent care patient. He got seen fairly promptly, although maybe not from the perspective of Marith who had to sit in the car to avoid the fur. Unsurprisingly, he has lost even more weight, and his kidneys are not doing that well. I got a different appetite stimulant and anti-nausea medication for him, and we'll see if those help, but the vet did not think he was going to make it more than days to weeks, and he might stop being a cat before being obviously in such bad shape that I bring him.


We petted and petted Ghirardelli while watching Gravity Falls up to the point where the final boss makes its move. Three episodes to go! And then we'll have to find something else to watch, I guess.


Words: FAIL.

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18 March 2019 - Monday

Ghirardelli did not do the noms today. He seems alert, and watched some kitty TV, but he is so skinny. I think he needs to visit the vet again, and I don't know if he will be coming home this time.


Words: FAIL.

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17 March 2019 - Sunday

In the morning, I made the trek to Mountain View to get the pro-nomming medicine for Ghirardelli from the 24/7 vet office, but when I gave it to him, he did not eat. That is not good.


Marith and I went to see Captain Marvel, because everyone says it's suitably awesome, and it is! For all the reasons that make Nazi heads explode, and also general awesomeness and lack of compulsory romance subplot (although it would have been fine if Carol and [SPOILER] had been a couple) and Young Fury and tentacles!


When we got back, I tried offering Ghirardelli some sardine, and he eated it! Not much, but some! Good job, kitty! I will give you more medicine tomorrow, and perhaps you will keep eating! Also, we love you even though you do not have tentacles!


Augh, Gravity Falls! Augh! We finally found out Stan's backstory! Augh!


Words: FAIL.

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16 March 2019 - Saturday

I bought Ghirardelli tasty smelly sardines and trout bits, but he did not eat them. I contacted the vet, who prescribed medicine to stimulate his appetite, and recommended giving him a tiny dose of human medicine to settle his stomach. I guess I can try it, there's not much to lose at this point.


Ken very kindly made me fish so I did not have to be complicit in pot roast. But it smelled really good. Sometimes it is hard to remember that even though what I do as an individual can't help the world much, it's still not okay for me to just throw my trash on the ground.

  • Sailor Moon Super S 147: Makoto was clearly having the most fun when she was dancing with Ami. Boys are completely unnecessary!
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 8: This episode: crafting skills. Also: most oblivious senpai ever.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 2 1: Just smooch already!

Hm, apparently I need more yuri fic.

We would have watched more Euphonium, but Nonny had like five separate meltdowns. Apparently it's hard being a kid.


I keep meaning to read more of my huge manga backlog, and today I kind of did! While giving Ghirardelli pettins, because he is the best kitty.

Volume 2 of Fairy Tale Battle Royale (Soraho Ina) shows the first layer of doom hiding behind the monster-slaying and kingdom-destroying, and it's pretty dark. I don't know if it's interesting enough doom to keep reading, though.

I first read Tomo-chan is a Girl (Fumita Yanagida) on a scanlation site, but now it's out officially, so I threw them some moneys and reread the part that's available. I can't claim it's any good, but it amuses me. Gender roles are so messed up.

And, new volume of Yotsuba&! (Kiyohiko Azuma), so I have to reread the existing thirteen volumes first!


Words: FAIL.

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15 March 2019 - Friday

A bunch of people from the other office came to this office to drink for Irish People Are White Now, We Guess Day. Apparently that office is going away, to be replaced by something else, because commerical real estate reasons or something, I don't even know. Probably that means some of them will be coming here on a regular basis.

Apparently I don't like humans today. Pie is okay, though.


Hurray, I got paid, now I can afford more vet appointments for Ghirardelli. I just don't know whether I should.


Avalon is not dead! Tired, but not dead.


More Gravity Falls S2! [SPOILER] is back from the first season, and has a good point! Also, Globnar.


Words: FAIL.

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14 March 2019 - Thursday

Less brain, but more Gravity Falls! Huh, I hope they come back to that.


My Hero Academia: Vigilantes (Hideyuki Furuhashi, Betten Court, Kohei Horikoshi) is a spin-off series about some people with less-impressive quirks who cannot resist helping people despire their lack of hero licenses. This is not legal, but is somewhat socially acceptable. Fight scenes ensue.

There's a secondary character who is a sociology grad student specializing in the era when quirks first appeared, so there should be some good worldbuilding.


Words: FAIL.

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13 March 2019 - Wednesday

We won regular 13th Age, so now I guess we're moving on to the variant, and also burritos. (We would have done 5E, but Kelsey was absent yet again.)

This week, we used some version of Runequest (I think) to create the backstory of the clan for the "home team". To make a long questionnaire short, we mostly stay out of the way and let trouble flow past us. Also, we're good at fishing.


I did not like The Raven Tower (Ann Leckie) nearly as much as the "Ancillary" series. It's not bad or anything, it's like Bronze(?)-age Hamlet in second person with interestingly constrained gods and trans representation. But I did not appreciate the imagination as much as in her earlier works. I hope this does not mean her evolution as a writer is taking her out of my zone of preference!


Words: FAIL.

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12 March 2019 - Tuesday

Bah, Tuesday. Ghirardelli seems okay, although he still needs to eat more. He's too skinny! (We gave him a little fluids, but that's not the same thing!)

Gravity Falls remains very silly, but is also getting kind of dark. The long-running romance subplot was handled nicely, though, and no one had to get eaten by gnomes.


Words: FAIL.

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11 March 2019 - Monday

We (meaning Marith, since she has the car and I am useless) took Ghirardelli to the vet, which was much too expensive, but his heart is doing very well! I mean, he is still an old cat and this is not the sort of thing that goes away, but the vet said to bring him back in 3-4 weeks, which implies his expected time could be significantly longer than that. Good job, kitty!


RWBY episodes are short, so we have already run out of season 6. Woe! But the protagonists have made it to their destination, and perhaps the motorcycle Bumblebee has been replaced by the ship Bumblebee.

Using AirPlay to show video from Rooster Teeth's annoying streaming site is not that great, alas. It doesn't (as far as I can tell) let the Apple TV remote control things, so I have to run back to the computer all the time.


Words: FAIL.

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10 March 2019 - Sunday

Ugh, no more standard time, now we have to save our daylight. But not our sleep.


It's PAD&D5 time again! But no Deirdre, she has germs.

Having finally arrived back at Red Larch with the rescued prisoners, the Heroines try to get some sleep, but are woken in the wee hours by reports that [SPOILER] is encroaching on the town. Evacuation and temporary fortifications to buy enough time to rescue major pieces of infrastructure ensue, while the Heroines repulse the initial assault by giant ugly [SPOILER]. Like, really ugly.

When the Heroines scout the evacuation path for the townspeople, they are notified that this is the work of [SPOILER], who they are nominally conspiring against. The townspeople are not important to the villain plan, so they can be allowed to flee, but the Heroines must fight and make it look good so the collusion is not revealed to the other villains before they attack.

Naturally, although the environment is no longer to their advantage, and the enemy is larger, faster, or both, the Heroines win with style. However, they need to shut down the [SPOILER] immediately if there is to be any world to save!


More RWBY season 6! That was actually pretty creepy. Also, humans are dumb.


Words: FAIL.

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9 March 2019 - Saturday

All my funds are tied up in cat futures, so I had to have Marith pay the cleaners this fortnight. Embarrassing.


  • Sailor Moon Super S 146: Princesses should not skive off official events! Are you taking notes, Usagi? (No.)
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 7: Maybe don't let the 1st-grader write the notes if you want other people to know what's going on.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 13: Regionals! The End! Kumiko and Reina did not smooch, boo.
  • A Place Further Than The Universe 4: Apparently this is an accurate depiction of orienteering.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 14: Side story about the band members who did not get picked to play at regionals and what they did to help the band. Heartwarming!

Words: FAIL.

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8 March 2019 - Friday

Because eating while watching RWBY is difficult for stupid capitalism-related reasons, we watched the first episode of Gravity Falls S2. For some reason I thought it was going to be the next summer, but no, it continues on pretty much from where S1 left off. The plot might be finally going, though. (Really it started at the end of the last episode of S1.

Then we huddled around the iMac to watch more RWBY S6. Yep, that was an expository flashback, all right! And it was kind of the thing Marith was hoping it wouldn't be, but only kind of. There's plenty of legitimate doom to go around, anyway, and also higher powers suck.


Words: FAIL.

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7 March 2019 - Thursday

Ghirardelli continues to be mostly interested in lying in one place, but he watched some kitty TV while we watched human TV. There might have been pettins.

The end of season 1 of Gravity Falls was quite something! But at least [SPOILER] got his!

Then, since we had more evening, we started watching RWBY season 6. They're in a frozen wastelend, maybe they'll have to snuggle up to conserve heat? But it looks like first there will have to be a Flashback of Great Doom!


Words: Continued FAIL. I need to start writing again at some point, but it seems overwhelmingly pointless because I am so bad at it.

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6 March 2019 - Wednesday

I stopped by home to give Ghirardelli his evening medicines and pettins, and he was awake and alert, so I do not have to make any quality-of-life-related decisions today! Also he looks very silly with the shaved parts on his arms from being in the ICU. Poor undignified kitty!

Despite taking that time, I was still the first person to arrive for 13th Age and pho (not counting people who live there).

Wait, that's it? We defeated the main villain that we've been fighting against/over/in for the whole compaign in battle, and we win? Huh.

Yay us!

I guess I better work on that 5E character for Kelsey's one-shot now.


Words: Continued FAIL.

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5 March 2019 - Tuesday

I skipped out of work early so we could eat dinner during rush hour and then drive up to Mountain View to get Ghirardelli. I had to stand up Avalon, but now Ghirardelli is home and, well, not great, but awake and alert. He also looks very silly with a shaved ring around each arm. Poor kitty!

Marith continues to be a Hero of the Revolution.


Words: Continued FAIL.

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4 March 2019 - Monday

When I got home from work, Ghirardelli was sitting in the litterbox like moving was too much work, and even after I scooped him and cleaned him, he didn't want to move, so we took him in to the vet. They did some tests and it looks like his heart is not so good. Also he was having trouble breathing, so we took him up to the larger hospital in Mountain View to spend the night in the oxygen booth and get started on heart medication (which coincidentally is exactly the opposite from the treatment for his kidney disease).

None of the vet people said anything about time, but it doesn't look like Ghirardelli has much of it left. Poor kitty.


Words: FAIL.

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3 March 2019 - Sunday

Ken lured me over to play Gloomhaven again, and we actually did not die from lateness!

The scenario we picked was not part of the main plot, but it delivered the promised riches (and also vermling kills for Ken, which I should possibly object to since my character is a vermling, but fuck those guys, they wear the wrong sunglasses). I was the richest going in and it still doubled my money! Now I can have the Internet tell me what enhancements to buy for my murder rat's own retirement goal.

In retrospect, it might have gone more smoothly if Ken hadn't kicked in the door of a room with seven enemies on the round they drew the "make ranged attacks at the top of the round" card, but these things happen.


As of vol 2 (of a projected three), Fruits Basket Another (Natsuki Takaya) is not grabbing me the way the original did. Points for realistic depiction of depression/social anxiety due to horrible parenting (unlike Tohru's personality, which I recall as seeming a bit contrived), but it feels very rushed and not like it's really going very far anyway. I would put it in the category of fanfic, since the point mostly seems to be to show where the characters are a decade after the original series; it just happens to be written by the original creator.


Words: FAIL.

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2 March 2019 - Saturday

Yum, adobo chicken!

  • Sailor Moon Super S 145: Usagi, you need to buy up your Dex before you can be a ballerina!
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 6: Jeez, just tell her embarrassing stories about your sister!
  • Hibike! Euphonium 12: Oh no, our main character has not spent enough points on Perform (Euphonium)! Can she get more points from growing closer to Reina?
  • A Place Further Than The Universe 3:

It looks like there are actually 14 episodes of Hibike! Euphonium and then a whole second season, so we need to adjust the schedule. After we definitely run out of Hibike, we still plan to try Shirobako.


Words: FAIL. I have installed Scrivener, but not managed to use it. (This was easy because the email with my license key was in gmail, not stored locally. There is no ethical disaster recovery under capitalism?)

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1 March 2019 - Friday

The Jury Duty website says: "You are released from Jury Duty at this time. Your service is deemed complete and you will receive a one year exemption. Thank you for your services to the Court this week."

I'm a little disappointed, since I've never juried, but I'm sure it would be mostly boring and frustrating in practice.


Words: FAIL.

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28 February 2019 - Thursday

Marith made a fritatta, which is probably not as complicated as it sounds, but go her anyway!

Also we watched some Gravity Falls and gave Ghirardelli fluids and encouraged him to eat his kidney foods.


Demon's Lure (L Rowyn) is about a girl who has the divine gift to make demons happy by being happy around them, and the demon who decides to keep her as a pet. So, kind of problematic for serial-killer-redemption and Stockholm syndrome.


The Jury Duty website says they don't need me first thing tomorrow but I have to check back tomorrow at noon for breaking news. Uh oh.


Words: FAIL. I thought about installing Scrivener but didn't manage to do it.

frittata by marithlizard (Fri Mar 1 16:00:38 2019)

It was pretty complicated, if only because of all the vegetable prep!

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27 February 2019 - Wednesday

It's time for 13th Age and pizza!

As usual, we had only time for half a fight, but there was much running around and breaking things and screaming and dying and at the very end of the session, we broke through to the trap where the second half of the fight will probably kill us.


The Jury Duty website says they don't need me tomorrow but I have to check back tomorrow after 17:00 to see about the next day.


Words: FAIL. No time to set up Scrivener, there was gaming to wait for.

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26 February 2019 - Tuesday

Hurray, my computer is fixed! And Ayse has some kidney gooshyfood that Aime doesn't need, that we can try Ghirardelli on since he doesn't seem to be eating much of the kidney crunchyfood.


We successfully got both my computer and the gooshyfoods and brought them back home, where one was plugged in and the other was devoured with surprising gusto. Good job, kitty! Eat the nourishing food!

Then we watched some Gravity Falls, which I still like quite a bit, and I worked on getting my computer set up again. Fortunately I put all my passwords into Lastpass, so I still have access to all the websites I got stuff from originally.


Tumblr implies that we should watch Hilda. Maybe after Gravity Falls, or maybe we could watch it at anime night since we're probably going to need more things that are Jus-friendly.


The Jury Duty website says they don't need me tomorrow but I have to check back tomorrow after 17:00 to see about the next day.


Words: FAIL. Most or all of what I was writing (except for the one night when the computer exploded) should be backed up in Dropbox or on idiom, but I have to reinstall Scrivener and hope everything really is still there.

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25 February 2019 - Monday

Ew, Monday again. And my computer is apparently still not fixed, bah!


Gravity Falls comes out strong in favor of silliness! Also the important line, "That sounds like something no responsible parent would allow. Good thing I'm an uncle.".


Volume 2 of Ran and the Gray World (Aki Irie) has even more doom and also magical shenanigans. We get to see more of Ran's dad and people from the magical side of things in general, and why they do what they do, and also there is a boy who likes Ran even when she's not a smoking hot 20-year-old, but her inability to control her magic might mess everything up.


The Jury Duty website says they don't need me tomorrow but I have to check back tomorrow after 17:00 to see about the next day.


Words: FAIL.

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24 February 2019 - Sunday

After a long delay due to plague, it is time for PAD&D5 again!

The Heroines of Red Larch try to escort the people they've rescued back to Red Larch, but after half a day of hiking through the hills and considering petitions brought by [SPOILER], they discover they are in that horror story where every time they check, there are fewer people than before and no one knows who's missing. Then, a giant attacks! And explodes! But once all its components are defeated, and the beautiful snake-woman who comes to explain things springs her ambush and is defeated in turn, the Heroines realize they are back in [SPOILER]! Aaaaaargh! It's another time loop!

The Heroines go back to [SPOILER], as the closest thing to a safe place in this horrible realm, where they meet [SPOILER] who apparently doesn't know them, but is happy to use conversation to learn from them everything that he will tell them when they will have met him for the first and second time. (Fortunately, only a few of the Heroines have a high enough Int modifier to wonder where this information really came from.) After a week of hiding in the cellar, they make it back to [SPOILER] without having caused any further damage to the universe (probably) and rejoin their escortees who are perfectly fine, and the giant who is very friendly and hopes to find work in the Red Larch quarries.

Jeremy says we have only a few sessions left, so probably we will be done by summer when Edie leaves to do... summer stuff. I suspect squirrels are involved. Anyway, we'll have to figure out what to play next.


On Ken's recommendation, we have started Gravity Falls, which is extremely silly. It reminds me of Invader Zim, a little.


Roadqueen: Eternal Roadtrip to Love (Mira Ong Chua) is an adorable romance comic about motorcycles, revenge, and being a decent lesbian. I am pretty sure the creator watched Utena; some of Leo's plans might as well have been snails in the pencil case!


The Jury Duty website says they don't need me tomorrow but I have to check back tomorrow after 17:00 to see about the next day.


Words: FAIL.

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23 February 2019 - Saturday

I hoped my computer would be fixed today, but no such luck.


  • Sailor Moon Super S 143-144: Wow, Fisheye had an actual plan! It didn't work, but it was a good plan.
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 5: I think it's like paranoia: just because the fortunes are all bad doesn't mean they aren't true!
  • A Place Further Than The Universe 1-2: We like it! (Obvious way to get onto the crew is recognized as obvious and ridiculous.)

Words: FAIL.

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22 February 2019 - Friday

Jus came to my office to sell cookies, but I was in a meeting! With my boss! It was very sad, but apparently people bought copiously anyway, so hurray for Girl Scouts!


The season 3 finale of The Good Place was sad, but hopeful, so that's okay. And it ends at a place where a fourth season (although devoutly wished for) is not required.


Dragon Pearl (Yoon Ha Lee) is whatever the age bracket down from YA is, so it has 0% romance, but lots of adventure and space fantasy based on Korean mythology, so it is still pretty awesome.


Words: FAIL.

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21 February 2019 - Thursday

Ghirardelli is just not interested in the kidney food. I guess we'll go back to free feeding the thyroid food. Why are you so difficult, kitty?


Oh no, we are already out of The Dragon Prince again! At least [SPOILER] found out about [SPOILER], and [SPOILER] and [SPOILER] are cute, and [SPOILER] made a reasonable decision and also the wicked vizier is completely [SPOILER].


Words: FAIL.

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20 February 2019 - Wednesday

We tried to gather for 13th Age and Greek food, but Kelsey is dead from germs, so instead we did some background randomization for Mike's upcoming 13G, and played Roll for the Galaxy. I didn't win, but I didn't come in last place, and in a game that didn't have both Dave and Ken, my score would have been perfectly reasonable.


Words: FAIL.

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19 February 2019 - Tuesday

Boo, Monday!


When I got home from being stupid at work, we watched like four episodes of The Dragon Prince. That was a pretty good Dark Power Point presentation by the vizier, and now we know more about how the late king became a widower. Also about how badass his wife and the lesbian queens of the neighboring realm were. The writers had to kill all of them off, because they wouldn't be taking any of this elven assassin, wicked vizier, dark magic nonsense!


Words: FAIL.

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18 February 2019 - Monday

It's President's Day! I should be out protesting the thing that is currently squatting in the White House, but I lack energy.

I did manage (with Marith's help) to make my appointment at the Apple Store, but after poking around a bunch more, they concluded the drive really is dead and needs replaced. At least it's free because I got the warranty thing. I thought about coughing up a couple hundred extra bucks to hold on to the old drive and flash memory, but that plus the cost of data recovery times the probability of my ever doing anything with it didn't make the cut.

Replacing the drive should take 1-3 days for parts shipping and 1-3 days for labor, so hopefully I can pick it up when we go to anime on Saturday.

In the evening, we took Ghirardelli to the vet for a progress check, and he is doing well! His weight has remained stable, so he's obviously eating something even if he sneers at the kidney food when I shove it in his face, and his kidney and potassium numbers have moved significantly in the right directions. What a good kitty!


At some point during the day, I worked on my self-evaluation form, but I wouldn't promote anyone based on what I wrote. (So maybe it's for the best that no promotion or raise is contingent on this.)


We've run out of RWBY, but the new season of The Dragon Prince is out! Still so much doom, and the wicked vizier has found a new source of doom because there wasn't enough.


Words: FAIL.

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17 February 2019 - Sunday

Did I manage to do anything today? I did not, because I suck! Well, okay, we went shopping, but meh. Anybody can go to Target.


Oh no, we have run out of RWBY! I think season 6 is in progress, but it's not available except on the Rooster Teeth website, which is less convenient to watch.

So much doom! But very pretty visuals!

Did we really have to wait 50-odd episodes for explicit LGBT representation, though? And still only hints of bumblebee?


I felt bad about not having accomplished anything, so I stayed up too late on a support chat with Apple, but although the support person was very helpful, we did not end up accomplishing anything. I will have to lug my computer into the Apple Store tomorrow.


Words: FAIL.

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16 February 2019 - Saturday

Ayse and Ken are sick, so we brought them food from Taiwan, and everyone was happy!


  • Sailor Moon Super S 142: The foodie episode.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 9: Jus stayed up to watch this with us, although I don't know how much she got out of it because it's a middle episode of a series about complicated feelings. But she got to watch anime with the grownups!
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 4: The circle of life!
  • Hibike! Euphonium 10-11: It's more sympathetic that someone else was causing the trouble on her behalf, I think. Also, yay, more Kumiko/Reina!

Words: FAIL.

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15 February 2019 - Friday

I don't seem to have stopped procrastinating on my mandatory voluntary self-criticism annual self-evaluation form, which was sort of due today. I guess I'll do it over the weekend.

Also my computer still doesn't work.


Words: FAIL.

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14 February 2019 - Thursday

Holy crap.


Avalon is still hanging in there, but ugh. Life.


I meant to try to boot up my broken computer while I had an Apple person on chat, but my brain was too small. I did make another account on my work laptop so I could have a separate browser to do gmail with a keyboard (and also tumblr), but mrgh.


Words: FAIL.

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13 February 2019 - Wednesday

Today, 13th Age and Indian food! We finished the fight against the undead hell mastodon and its riders with appropriate soundtrack, blew up a maze, and found what claims to be the final boss.

Kelsey wants to test a D&D5 adventure she's making on us, so we have something for a few weeks between defeating the Stone Thief and starting Glorantha.


Words: FAIL. Computer still broken. Brain still broken.

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12 February 2019 - Tuesday

Fortunately I managed to get some kind of MUD client installed on my work laptop, so I was able to have the scheduled date with Avalon even though my real computer is still toast.


Words: FAIL. I haven't yet installed Scrivener on my work computer, that seems like it's crossing a line in a way that a network client isn't.I do not claim that this makes any sense.

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11 February 2019 - Monday

Words: Ack my computer stopped working! I did my writing and then tried to save, but the operation hung and failed, and now it won't boot up! I think the hard drive (which is actually some complicated combination of disk and SSD) is dead.

computer woes by marithlizard (Thu Feb 14 12:13:25 2019)

I'm so proud of you!

Re: computer woes by Trip (Thu Feb 14 13:07:54 2019)

What, for not going into a complete toddler-style meltdown when deprived of my Internets?

Re: computer woes by marithlizard (Thu Feb 14 16:01:50 2019)

No, for not claiming that the computer spontaneously broke from having to host your writing! :) (And you can't claim it retroactively, it's too late.)

Re: computer woes by Trip (Fri Feb 15 21:49:52 2019)

I didn't think it needed to be said!

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10 February 2019 - Sunday

No gaming, Jeremy is full of germs. Only Zuul. But I did get a larger Instant Pot so Marith can make even more exciting food!


As of volume 5, the manga of My Hero Academia (Kohei Horikoshi) is still pretty similar to the anime. Some of the fight details might be different, but I think that's about it.

Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions (Henry Lien) continues in the same vein as the first book: Peasprout is kind of insufferable in a very teenaged way, and finds out more about how the city of Pearl works. Also, skate fu!


Words: 100. I lost the actual number, but I know I did writing, so meh.

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9 February 2019 - Saturday

Blrgh. I'm sure I breathe better when I'm asleep now, but that doesn't make me want to get up to let the cleaners in any more.


  • Sailor Moon Super S 141: Minako, that's not how you ethically play the field! You should probably learn from Pearl.
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 3: Someday, Renge will be terrifying.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 2.11-12: The end! Of Bon, which I guess is technically a spoiler, but not of rakugo!

Words: 135.

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8 February 2019 - Friday

Start of RWBY season four! Poor Yang, all her bumblebee dreams crushed. (I hope the writers aren't trying to set up Blake and Sun, but they probably are.)


Tried warming up the fluids for Ghirardelli tonight, but it didn't seem to make him any more or less happy than room-temperature solution. His appetite and energy are still better than before we started fluidizing him, though!


Words: 117.

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7 February 2019 - Thursday

Back to the vet, this tim with just Aspen, to try to get a urine sample. But once again, her bladder defeats multiple highly-trained vet techs armed with multi-thousand-dollar machinery!

Ghirardelli did not have to come to the vet, but when we got home, we tempted him with special kidney food (he ate it, yay!) and then oppressed him with subcutaneous fluids.

Marith is a still a Hero of the Revolution.


That was quite a conclusion to RWBY S3! But we have relatively few bodies, so who knows who will be in next seasion?


Words: 127.

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6 February 2019 - Wednesday

The news about Ghirardelli is not good. It's not terrible, but he definitely has kidney issues, because he is an older cat. Tomorrow we will have to go pick up some supplies for giving him subcutaneous fluid, and also switch him from special thyroid food to special kidney food. Meep.


This week, we are back to 13th Age (and also Thai food). But we are so slow and start so late that we only had time for about three rounds of combat before we had to call it a night.

Next week, we'll finish off the undead hell mastodon for sure!


Words: 190.

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5 February 2019 - Tuesday

There is snow on the hills. I won't say that's not okay, because I actually don't mind cold much, but it's certainly noteworthy!


Oh no, Avalon has to go to more doctors! At least she lives in a civilized country where she will not have to sell her house to get medical care.


More RWBY season 3. The plot, it thickens and thickens!


Words: 113. Do I need to work on something else? Do I need to outline? Do I need to stop pretending I can write? Do I need to stop watching TV in the evenings? Do I need to die in a pit?

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4 February 2019 - Monday

Ghirardelli has been off his feed, and Aspen has been failing at litterbox, so I finally took them in to the vet. Or rather, prevailed upon Marith, Hero of the Revolution, to take us all to the vet and wait and bring us back, which took like three hours.

Ghirardelli has lost one of his four remaining kilograms, which is not a good sign, but we will have to wait for results on the bloodwork to know why.

Aspen is more metabolic, but apparently she is forgotten about scratching, because some of her claws have grown so far they curl around and poke her pawbeans! I cannot leave her to her own devices any longer! Also her bladder defies the best efforts of vet-techs.


Words: 153.

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3 February 2019 - Sunday

I guess I managed to do shopping and drink Diet Dr Pepper today, but mostly I was useless. I even forgot to my cranial filaments neatened.

Marith made orange maple chicken, which was messy to make but tasted really good. We ate it while watching the middle part of season 3 of RWBY, the part where they suddenly introduce [SPOILER]. Huh, [SPOILER] has kind of a suspicious name in this new context, don't they?


I actually own the first N volumes of the My Hero Academia manga but only read a little bit way back when, before the anime showed me the true awesomeness. But while I'm sitting around being useless on Sunday, I might as well read manga! The first two volumes (which I read before) are substantially similar to the beginning of the anime.


Another thing I have had for a while but not gotten around to reading until just recently is The Human Dress (Graydon Saunders). This is the novel he called the doorstop, and it is indeed quite large, something like 1400 pages (according to Google Play, but they seem roughly similar to paperback pages). 1400 pages of Vikings and dinosaurs and magic and romance and [SPOILER] and revenge! Although it's not obviously related to the "Commonweal" books, the magic is very Graydonian, and so is the prose. In fact, it is even more oblique, sometimes to the point of opacity. I don't normally consider myself a poor reader, but I was not able to follow everything. I also have no idea who the other person hanging around with [SPOILER] was, or really what the last scene meant at all. But overall I still liked it a lot. (Did I mention the dinosaurs?)


Words: 145.

Weekly total: 988. Ugh.

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2 February 2019 - Saturday

Oh no, the restaurant with the five flavors of Diet Dr Pepper has no DDP today! Woe!


  • Sailor Moon Super S 140: Fashion! And even though Fisheye is the most sympathetic of the three villains, they still cannot pretend to be a decent person for even a few minutes at a time.
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 2: In the country, you have to make your own entertainment, I guess?
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 9-10: It's not like we don't know this is going to be a tragedy, but that would be ow.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 8: What do you know, this actually is a yuri show, not just a show with yuri subtext!

Words: 102.

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1 February 2019 - Friday

Finished the first season of RWBY (that was not nearly as successful as they hoped, and also was Emerald hitting on Ruby?) and started the second (there always has to be a tournament arc).


Words: 154.

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31 January 2019 - Thursday

Watched more RWBY, include the trailers. I'm not sure how representational the trailers are supposed to be, but they do seem like they could be full of meaning.


Words: 203.

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30 January 2019 - Wednesday

No 13th Age tonight, because Kelsey has the Sick. But the rest of us gathered and ate grasshoppers and other Oaxacan food and talked about 13G until suddenly Mike made us play Between Two Castles.

It falls into the heresy of D&D stats, but this Glorantha World seems like it could work. Except not for Mike's game, because he is not down with "play to find out what happens".


Words: 114.

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29 January 2019 - Tuesday

I finally got my act together enough to use the brain inflator last night. According to the respiration computer (am I a part-time cyborg now?), I breathed correctly, but that doesn't mean I slept well. Hopefully I will get used to having something stuck to my face.


Marith made really yummy chicken sun-dried tomato chicken stuff (I bet it would be even yummier on fettucine instead of rice) to eat while we watching some more RWBY S2. Look, Bumblebee!


Words: 157.

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28 January 2019 - Monday

Marith levelled up her cooking skill with paprika shrimp and sausage risotto and snap peas! We devoured it while watching the rest of season 1 and the start of season 2 of RWBY. Huh, apparently the ship names come from their combat maneuver names?


Words: 113.

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27 January 2019 - Sunday

We are back on the regular schedule for PAD&D5 now.

This session, the Heroines of Red Larch fight the forces of [SPOILER], which turns out to be more like a mosh pit with the risk of gruesome death (so, a good mosh pit?). There are actual monsters trying to eat them and environmental hazards and so forth, but things don't quite add up, and at the end, it is revealed that [SPOILER]! And then [SPOILER] shows up to explain about [SPOILER], which mostly boils down to how the Heroines shouldn't have left the other [SPOILER] only half-defeated. Time to go back and clean up those dungeons!


I meant to do things after I got home, but instead did nothing. I barely managed to feed myself, since Marith is asleep and/or dead.


Monster Wrestling vol 1 (Ganmarei, Tyataniyou, Takeo Aoki) definitely has well-endowed monster girls, pro wrestling, and tentacles, but despite the M rating it's not that raunchy, and the art style is not entirely to my taste. Points for making the monster girls slightly more monstrous than usual, though.


Words: 153.

Weekly total: 1241.

Not actually a [SPOILER] by Jeremy (Wed Jan 30 12:24:14 2019)

Incidentally, I notice that you collectively seem much more willing to trust a [okay, SPOILER] when the forces of Hell implicitly vouch for it. There's got to be some fun to be had here....

Re: Not actually a [SPOILER] by Trip (Thu Jan 31 13:48:41 2019)

I blame Mara 100%.

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26 January 2019 - Saturday

It's a good thing we have cleaners, or I would have to get my own rubber gloves!


Look! My new spectacles are in! My vision is still hardly perfect, but it's probably as good as these eyes will support.


  • Steven Universe 5.29-32: Quadruple length grand finale! Steven's heart vs dysfunctional space family! Can he do it?
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat 1: Now we will cover different incidents during the same school year, unless we get bored and watch something else.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 6-7: Someone quit the band! But someone else is getting fired up!

Creatures of Want & Ruin (Molly Tanzer) seems Lovecraftian, but isn't actually. It does have mystery and doom and a tough lady bootlegger and rich people who don't get enough of what's coming to them and also various sorts of tragedy and loss.


Words: 129.

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25 January 2019 - Friday

Most depressing all-hands meeting ever today. A coworker who I have worked with for quite a few years but didn't know at all well died earlier this week. He was 72, I think. Meep.


RWBY episodes are so short we almost finished the first season while eating dinner and drinking cocoa. How did those ruins survive this long?! Well, not an issue any more.

Judging by tumblr, Ruby/Weiss and Yang/Blake are the most seaworthy ships.


Words: 198.

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24 January 2019 - Thursday

The Good Place continues to be pretty swell. Also, let's hear it for replicable social experiments!

But we only had one episode, so after that we watched the first few episodes of RWBY (chosen via the infallible "what has fanart on tumblr" method, which would suggest that the replacement for BBK/BRNK be Darling in the FranXX). Marith says they're basically the same story (and animation quality) as ancient Final Fantasy games. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.


I finally got the distilled water I need for the face inflator, but now my face is full of mucus and my cranium is empty of brain.


Words: 252.

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23 January 2019 - Wednesday

We got food from Old Spaghetti Factory because they're doing some kind of school donation thing, but also we played 13th Age. This week, things got so complicated that Ken was forced to draw a map to explain which parts of the floor were lava and which were only rock monsters. But we did make it through that combat and to the start of the next one, only a little over time.

On the way home, Mike's car demanded blood sacrifice, which is surely not an omen for next week at all.


In vol 4-5 Raven: The Pirate Princess (Jeremy Whitley, Christine Hipp, Xenia Pamfil, Justin Birch), we get more infighting, (queer) romance, failed romance due to buttheadedness, and impending magical doom.

Your Name. Another Side: Earthbound (Jyunya Nakamura, Makoto Shinku, Arata Kanoh) is a spinoff of an anime movie which I haven't seen, but I picked it up for the body-swapping. It wasn't bad or anything, but maybe I should have seen the movie first or something.


Words: 118. Writing, how does it even?

And! by marithlizard (Thu Jan 24 14:29:05 2019)

You forgot the important detail that I made multiple vegetable-based dishes and they were actually tasty and foodlike!

Re: And! by Trip (Tue Jan 29 15:58:14 2019)

Very true! Om nom nom nom!

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22 January 2019 - Tuesday

Wait, what? There are only nine episodes of The Dragon Prince? But we only just now got [SPOILER]! And what about [SPOILER]?

Oh, next season is Feb 15. That's not so bad, probably.


Words: 254.

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21 January 2019 - Monday

It's MLK Day, when conservatives and other racists are cordially invited to shut up forever! Also, company holiday.

I meant to be productive today, and I guess I was, or at least I made all the shopping trips that I intended to, but meh. I did not feel very accomplished. Maybe I need to stop reading tumblr, as well as get rid of all pad games.


Words: 137. I had a first line, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

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20 January 2019 - Sunday

Finally, 2019 includes PAD&D5!

After realizing they are actually in [SPOILER], and have not escaped the location of the mental battle, the Heroines of Red Larch understand the true horror of their fate, and also proceed to fall for basically the same trap a second time. Despite the monsters having favorable terrain and reinforcements, though, it ends up not going any better for them than the first time.

The Heroines' combined mental power is not enough to get them out of a paper bag, let alone [SPOILER], so they are forced to look around for another way out. Fortunately (?) they soon meet a [SPOILER], who though not native to the area was there about the same monsters they fought. Ominous allusions are made, and offers that can be refused are, but finally a deal is struck and the Heroines find themselves in the [SPOILER] that they should probably have been going to already.

Going all the way to Palo Alto is actually kind of a huge pain (two hours each way, more or less). I wonder if gaming at Dave's place would work instead? I'd even provide food, although it wouldn't be fresh-baked.


Avalon is not dead! Although she has weird working hours and has to get people to quit fucking up because they are idiots and she is not. It doesn't sound like much fun. I blame capitalism.


Words: 108.

Weekly total: 1102. Ugh.

Gaming at Dave's place by Your friendly neighborhood DM (Wed Jan 23 18:35:43 2019)

Alas, I suspect we'd lose Deirdre by doubling her commute. Also, who'd be here to feed fancy cheese to the dog?

Re: Gaming at Dave's Place by Trip (Thu Jan 24 11:10:30 2019)

Bummer. Why must people live in such inconvenient locations? (Spoiler: It's capitalism. It's always capitalism.)

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19 January 2019 - Saturday

Marith wanted to go over early to run No Thank You, Evil!, but Jus is full of Girl Scout Activity, so we only gamed for a little while. Beep boop!

  • Sailor Moon Super S 138-139: Although there are certainly problematic elements, I am glad to see girls can have a variety of beautiful dreams that are not standardly feminine! Also, go Ami with the practical skills! car, sword
  • Non Non Biyori 12: Wait, you can just eat plants? That grow in the dirt? That doesn't seem safe at all! Anyway, so much for the first season. Not sure what to watch next, maybe second season, or maybe Nodame Cantabile.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 8: What unrefined government thugs! But the voice actor for Kikuhiko is doing a great job.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 5: Sunfest and victory! Well, at least not defeat. Can they make it to nationals in 7 episodes?

Words: 195.

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18 January 2019 - Friday

Words: 231.

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17 January 2019 - Thursday

Quite dull day, but in the evening we had risotto and cocoa and episodes 3-5 of The Dragon Prince. Intrigue! Magic! Disabled representation! No romance!


Hey, I'm finally caught up after spending the holidays not recording my pointless little life!!


Words: 169. I finished writing the Horrible Incident, so now I know more about how my protagonist is Scarred For Life, and can rewrite the stuff I already wrote only better ugh maybe I should just gnaw my fingers off instead.

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16 January 2019 - Wednesday

Neither rain nor more rain nor inept drivers shall stay us in our appointed 13th Age and pho (or banh mi for more enthusiastic carb-eaters, although to be fair my pho had plenty of noodle)!

It was a very D&D fight, with lots of statuses that kind of overlapped or didn't overlap or did or didn't affect particular actions, yadda yadda yadda. It would have taken a third the time and been twice as fun (for me, and I bet for at least some others) in Dungeon World.

Also I did some random background generation for my character in Mike's increasingly-imminent 13th Age Glorantha game. I can possibly make a character sheet now.


Words: 121.

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15 January 2019 - Tuesday

Oh, hey, there's more The Good Place! In 3.10, Michael has an important insight, and Eleanor is weird and horny. So, A+ for consistent characterization! Also, we understand more of how things are the way they are, and it makes perfect sense if you make certain assumptions.

But there was only one new episode, so then we watched a bit of The Dragon Prince. After the first episode, I was all "this fantasy product is both extruded and lumpy", but Marith wanted to watch more, and the second episode was much better. Also the animation is quite pretty.


Words: 124.

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14 January 2019 - Monday

Now I have a CPAP machine, obtained on a harrowing quest into the depths of Los Gatos! It is much smaller and lighter than my previous one, and also has a fancier interface. We will see what happens.

But I did not set up the machine tonight, because I was up until a million o'clock playing Gloomhaven with Ken and Dave and Brooks, and eating Somali food. I need to remember to get the injera next time, the chappatti is not that interesting to me.

I guess Gloomhaven is the sort of thing you can have spoilers for, isn't it? So I shouldn't say too much about the scenario except that that disembodied voice is a jerk. Also, either I don't know how to play (definitely true) or I cleverly picked the weakest class (possibly true).


Words: 154.

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13 January 2019 - Sunday

After being a slug all morning, I went to see Aquaman because Dave said it was good. It wasn't bad! Nothing had a sensible design, but I liked the riding mosasaurs anyway, and, well, it was a comic-book movie. The realities of water resistance are not what people were there for.

I often say, "What is even the point of male characters?", but I would accept "Jason Momoa" as an answer.


When Marith was no longer dead, we finished She-Ra. I continued to like it a lot, even though it is for a young audience, and hope there will be a second season soon!


Speaking of princesses, I read volume 1-3 of Raven: The Pirate Princess (Jeremy Whitley, Rosy Higgins, Ted Brandt), a spinoff of volume 3 of Princeless because I guess everyone liked the martial arts pirate princess. Now she has a crew of (mostly queer) lady pirates, and they are going to stomp some people who need stomping!

Also read: volume 1 of Ne Ne Ne (Shizuku Totono, Daisuke Hagiwara), which is about a young woman who ends up married to an older (but quite unworldly) man who always wears a mask and parleys with unseen beings. It is pretty cute, and a little like Ancient Magus' Bride but much much less angstful and no one is doomed. At worst, some people are awkward.


Words: 157.

Weekly total: 1182. Ugh. Maybe I need fewer pad games as well as fewer evening activities.

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12 January 2019 - Saturday

In the morning, cleaners. In the afternoon, trying to go over to Monkeycat Mountain to game with Jus, but Marith did not make a plan, so instead we went over at the regular time and ate burritos.

  • Steven Universe 5.27-28: "Together Alone" and "Escapism"! Gems are completely dysfunctional! Connie and Steven function in heretical ways! Watermelons!
  • Non Non Biyori 11:
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 7: I don't know if it's actually mandatory for the narrator of a story about storytelling to be unreliable, but I lack counterevidence.
  • BBK/BRNK 4: The promise of worldbuilding has not been followed up, and nothing else is any good, so we are dropping this one.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 4: I think they got the skeptics on their side? Or at least promoted some unit integrity?

Words: 146.

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11 January 2019 - Friday

Marith made fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. They were good. But they did not make my brain larger.


Words: 241.

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10 January 2019 - Thursday

The finale of Ancient Magus' Bride! Hm, that's kind of dark, although not as bad as it could be. I hope there is a second season!


I have finally caught up enough to calculate the yearly total for 2018, which was not that great. I should probably increase my daily quota, but I keep having things that take up almost my entire evening. I blame Ken for moving a long ways away and then refusing to game until late in the evening, but if we had more evening, we'd probably just game more.

Words: 160.

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9 January 2019 - Wednesday

Once again, it's 13th Age and Indian food!

Vaatu pulling the mysterious lever causes the cube to go rocketing around the cavern while the Secret Master inside summons up hook demons in French maid outfits, but they're not actually very impressive demons and the fight is won by the time the cube lands in something explosive and everyone has to bail out.

In the confusion, the PCs sneak into the secret chamber of disgusting magical power, which is probably adjacent to the place they need to reach to complete the entire campaign, but of course there are guardians.


Words: 130.

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8 January 2019 - Tuesday

I failed to escape from work at a reasonable time (mostly because I was too stupid to stand up from my desk, not because of terrible customers or anything), so instead of watching the end of Ancient Magus' Bride, we watched a bit of She-Ra while feeding. Tuxedo! Dancing! Rescues! Let the Catradora shipping commence intensify greatly!


Words: 225.

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7 January 2019 - Monday

What, work again?


All Tomorrows (Nemo Ramjet) is a future history of human biology over the next 100 million years or so (including a long stretch under the rule of aliens who like to genetically engineer their subject species for having the temerity to object to being conquered). It features many pictures of creatures that obviously derive from humanity and yet are not human, which is pretty cool. I'm not sure about the timescales of some bits, but whatever.


Words: 123.

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6 January 2019 - Sunday

Apparently Sunday is still the day for staying in bed and reading comics until 23489562394659024 o'clock in the morning.

I'm now up to volume 6 of Princeless (which is all that's out so far), and it is full of obnoxious princesses, dragon-back fistfights, family drama, utterly mad dwarves, queer representation, pirates, and other good things. I like the art style less as it goes on, but I blame Rumiko Takahashi for my weird old-fashioned tastes.


We're almost to the end of Ancient Magus' Bride, and things are definitely even darker and scarier and more doomed. How is Chise going to survive this one? How is Elias's sapience going to survive?


Words: 305.

Weekly total: 1400.

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5 January 2019 - Saturday

Yay, it's Saturday! That work week was much too long!


  • Sailor Moon Super S 137: Finally, Fisheye gets a chance! But is still evil and not romantic.
  • Steven Universe 5.26: I mean, SU is pretty much always great, but this episode had less greatness than usual. Setup for the next super-great episode? Steven did change clothes, after all!
  • Non Non Biyori 10: Flashback episode! Yes, apparently Renge has always been like that.
  • Hibike! Euphonium 3: And there's the obstacles internal to the team orchestra that they have to overcome to get VICTORY!
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 5-6: Meep!

Words: 233.

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4 January 2019 - Friday

More AMB! Chise makes a friend, fairies cause problems, Elias discovers a new emotion, Chise takes damage from doing magic (again).


Hex Vet: Witches in Training (Sam Davies, of Stutterhug fame) is an adorable comic about apprentice magical veterinarians and magical creatures in need of care. It does have dialog, but that's okay, really!


Words: 304.

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3 January 2019 - Thursday

I finally went to see a medical professional about a prescription for a CPAP machine. Since I was on one before, I do not have to do a sleep study or anything, just make an appointment at the CPAP vendor.


More Ancient Magus' Bride. All about love, and also taking lethal damage as a side-effect of doing magic (or having half-naked fairy chicks living in your garden). Plus, changelings, Silver's backstory, shopping, and kisses.


Words: 204.

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2 January 2019 - Wednesday

Yuck, work. Although the really bad part is how early in the day it happens!


First 13th Age of the new year! Also, Mexican food not actually made of either iguanas or kaiju.

Really, what did Xian think was going to happen when she pointed out a mysterious and enticing lever to Vaatu? (Answer: not what actually happened!)


Words: 113.

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1 January 2019 - Tuesday

Hey, look, it's 2019! This year better suck less, or I will shake my puny fist at the uncaring sky.

"Begin as you mean to go on", so I did um absolutely nothing today. Except lie in bed and read manga.

(I actually read this last year, but whatever.) Made in Abyss vol 1-3 (Akihito Tsukushi) is the story of a girl and this robot she found, on a one-way descent into a vast pit full of strange creatures and ancient artifacts, in search of her mom and also knowledge. It has some problematic elements, but also a lot of pretty cool stuff and plot twists and such. I think there's an anime, maybe we should watch it on Saturdays. (It might even leave out some of the more problematic bits.)

Going beyond imaginative into cracktastic, we have Dr.STONE vol 1-2 (Riichiro Inagaki, Boichi). One day, all humans and sparrows on Earth are turned to stone! 3700 years later, the two high-school students we've been introduced to recover, one because he kept conscious by counting seconds (which is how he knows how long it's been) and the other because he kept conscious thinking of the girl he had been about to confess to. One has maxed his Int and Science stats, and is working on recreating all of C21 civilization single-handedly, the other has maxed Strength and Stamina and is doing all the grunt work. Things start going wrong when they revive the high-school student who can punch lions to death and he has different ideas about the future of the humanity. It is so ridiculously over-the-top! But it fails at female characters.

My Pretty Vampire (Katie Skelly) is meh, probably mostly because the art style didn't grab me.

I read volume 1 of Princeless (Jeremy Whitley, M Goodwin) before, but now I am set to read the next 5 volumes that my local indie bookstore has delivered to me. Because if we must have princesses, they shouldn't need rescuing!/p>


Words: 139.

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31 December 2018 - Monday

This time Marith and I successfully saw Into the Spider-Verse, and it was pretty good! Now I understand Miles's powers in MPQ. I wonder if we'll get this version of [SPOILER]?

In the evening, Earl fondue (not made out of real Earls), as is the New Year's Eve tradition. This time we broiled the meat portion, which was logistically much better, and we still had the cheese and chocolate death courses for dipping with brain forks. There was some discussion of watching things, but mostly we searched for the lost art of conversation until it was time for toasting and then home-going.

We are so old and sedate that there was almost no one on the roads yet by the time Marith andI drove home.


Words: 102.

Yearly total: 91474. That's actually not completely dreadful. These are all first-draft words, and not very good ones at that, so it's a long way from being anything even if they were all the same things, but there are probably published books that are not much longer than that. I probably need to increase my quota for the new year, though.

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30 December 2018 - Sunday

Marith and I tried to go to a movie, but failed because the only seats were in the front row, which is not workable. (But apparently other people paid for those seats. Necks, how do they work?) We got better tickets for tomorrow.

In the evening, I went over to Ken's and even though we had no Dave, we had Mike and Brooks to play Gloomhaven. Splitting the party worked, mostly, and I got my murder rat up to 3rd level, so I can have even better cards that slowly trickle out of my hand, never to be seen again.


Words: 126.

Weekly total: 1560.

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29 December 2018 - Saturday

I was too lethargic to let the cleaners in, but we eventually got things sorted out and do not have to live in squalor.


We thought about doing board games because Dave isn't available to watch anime, but no one had enough brain.

  • Non Non Biyori 8-9: Poor Komori. Someone should tell her that being an adult isn't worth it.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 4: Aw, rakugo for kids! (It's probably not a dead art form if kids like it!)
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.12: Rewatch for Ken and Marith. Still cute.

Words: 305.

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28 December 2018 - Friday

Today, I got out of the house and did some things! Like getting my hair cut for the first time in approximately my entire life, and ordering new glasses.


More Ancient Magus' Bride, more doom! I mean, Chise seems to mostly come out okay in the end, but there's still a lot of doom.


Words: 160.

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27 December 2018 - Thursday

In a possibly futile attempt to seem like we didn't spend the entire holiday season as somnolent lumps in our separate caves, Marith and I went to the big library downtown. It is certainly very large, but not prosperous in fiction. I did get a library card (because the librarian was more helpful than the one at my local branch) and check out Step Aside, Pops (Kate Beaton). Kate Beaton rocks.


New She-Ra 5-7: soggy princess, terrifying princess, and magical aunt.


Words: 239.

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26 December 2018 - Wednesday

It's Boxing Day, which I guess is the day when Santa goes to Australia in his sleigh drawn by pugilist kangaroos?

More The Ancient Magus's Bride. Every girl needs a giant terrifying black dog with a tail longer than its entire body!


Words: 218.

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25 December 2018 - Tuesday

A nifty Newtonmas to all!

Ayse and Ken fed us many tasty foods (yay duck!) and also there was great sloth.


The Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle (Kagiji Kumanomata) is there because the demons have kidnapped her to hold hostage and now have no idea what to do with her as she runs roughshod over them in her pursuit of a good night's sleep. She cuts up the living rugs of smothering to make bedsheets, steals priceless magical artifacts to adjust the temperature of her quarters, breaks through walls to get better ventilation, and generally crushes the demons underfoot without even realizing. There is little if any ongoing plot, just one ridiculous scheme per chapter, so it may eventually get old, but after three volumes it's still pretty amusing.


Words: 124.

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24 December 2018 - Monday

Watched some more She-Ra, otherwise hid from the capitalist frenzy of Newtonmas Eve.


Ran and the Gray World (Aki Irie) is about a young girl (upper end of elementary school, maybe?) who is sad because her mom, a glamorous sorceress (possibly the glamorous sorceress) is always away on important sorcery business, leaving her stuck with her dad and big brother. She has a pair of magic sneakers that turn her into a grownup. Adventure ensues!


Words: 388?! Where did all this typing come from?

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23 December 2018 - Sunday

Marith and I started watching the new She-Ra, which is actually pretty good! It is definitely for kids, so very simple in some ways, but none of it makes me want to fling things. Also I see why there is so much Adora/Catra shipping.


Words: 163.

Weekly total: 1157.

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22 December 2018 - Saturday

Ayse has decided to learn to make Swiss rolls. There may be imperfect attempts that need to be disposed of.

  • Sailor Moon Super S 135-136: More monster-of-the-week, but the villains have plans. I don't think Jus understood the jealousy over Mamoru, which is good. That's a trope that can die with this generation!
  • My Hero Academia 61-63: Rewatch for Ken, since he missed the end of season 3 the first time around.

Words: 124.

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21 December 2018 - Friday

Last day of work for the year! We got free food, as well as backpacks of a somewhat strange design, and company logo socks. I actually did some work for a change.


Now Marith is caught up on Hibike! Euphonium.


Words: 256. I tried writing in Comic Sans as recommended by tumblr for extreme productivity, but it has no italics, so it didn't work for me. Maybe sometime I will try using bold instead.

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20 December 2018 - Thursday

Marith is still full of Connecticut germs. It is very sad.

Avalon does not have germs, but does have work. However, there is a puppy at work.


I believe the Cruel Empire of Tsan Chan is only mentioned once in a single Lovecraft story, but that limited source material didn't stop someone from fleshing it out for Call of Cthulhu!

It's 5000AD. Cthulhu has risen, and taught humanity new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves. All the earth is aflame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom, except for the Empire of Tsan Chan, which keeps that kind of madness at bay with massive magical wards, brutal repression, and unwholesome bargains. It's not a pleasant life, even for the mutants and cyborgs and liches at the top, but at least most of the population still have their own minds. Mechanically, the philosophy/religion/indoctrination gives you a second Sanity track: as long as either SAN or the Way is above 0, you can be a functional human being, and the Way isn't reduced by the horrors you encounter in day-to-day life in Tsan Chan.

There are plot hooks/campaign seeds for every stratum of society: commoners, military, the travelling magistrates of the judiciary run by the liches that founded the empire, the divine hybrid nobility, the eunuchs who have been ritually mutilated and modified to be able to survive the Empress's presence, even the allied Serpent People or ghouls. They would all be extremely grim, but what are you playing CoC for?


Words: 152.

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19 December 2018 - Wednesday

13th Age extra Thai food!

Without Mike's strong vision of what we should be doing, we had to resort to simple measures like disguising ourselves with stolen cultist robes and sneaking back to scout around some more. Sadly, the cultist robes did not grant darkvision, or the ability to pass through the labyrinth unhindered by assorted horrible monsters. Ow.

No gaming until next year!


Words: 103.

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18 December 2018 - Tuesday

Avalon is busy being oppressed by aunts and work, so instead of a date I spent the evening watching anime with Marith.

  • The Ancient Magus' Bride 5: Chise really should not be surprised about that, since the entire show about is about the bittersweetness of transient things. Also, splendid cat king is splendid.
  • BBK/BRNK 3: Rewatch to get Marith caught up.

Also I returned to tumblr, which really is mostly still there, but has a very desolate feeling anyway.


Words: 158.

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17 December 2018 - Monday

Hurray, Marith made it back! With pictures!

We celebrated by ordering pizza and watching two more episodes (3-4) of The Ancient Magus' Bride. Yikes, that is quite a cliffhanger!


I avoided tumblr completely today, and anecdotally, my notifications of people I follow posting stuff or my posts getting reblogged, were way down. I wonder if Oath (can you get any more obvious that corporations are an invention of Nyarlathotep, guys?) will notice.


Words: 201. Maybe I should stop writing and just die in a pit forever.

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16 December 2018 - Sunday

It seems like barely a week ago that I made the trek to Palo Alto, but it's already time for PAD&D5 again! Except no Deirdre, who apparently has to work all month while her boss goes to holiday parties.

The Heroines of Red Larch have to take the people they've just rescued back to Red Larch, so more than another day passes before they can reach the site where they hope to rescue everyone else, and of course by the time the villains and their captives are long gone. However, while searching the area for clues, the Heroines encounter a lone [SPOILER], who tells them that many of the children were taken away separately, to a local place of ominous reputation. It is dusk, and everyone knows terrible things are always scheduled for midnight, so there is no time to waste!

On the way into the deep dark woods, the party is assaulted by random [SPOILER] wielding [SPOILER], but Rimardo uses his Pink Sugar Crystal Dragon attack to get rid of them with little effort.

Finally, the Heroines reach the Ominous Location, and their ninjas locate the missing children, along with the expected enemies and a surprising [SPOILER]. Just as they're ready to bust in and do some good, one of the enemies reveals that it's a trap! But Mara is already out of sight of everyone else, so she can claim she was mind-controlled by the [SPOILER] when she tries to remove Rimardo's kidneys. Despite all this, the Heroines manage to defeat everyone who turns out to be an enemy, and save everyone who needs saving. What are [SPOILER] doing here, though? Aren't they ruled out by the campaign premise?

No more gaming until next year.


Tomorrow is International Fuck Tumblr Day, so I tried to close all my browser tabs that were open to tumblr. I spent multiple hours doing this and I'm not sure I actually succeeded, since some tumblr blogs have their own URL, but I certainly closed very many of them!


Words: 105.

Weak total: 969. Ugh. Maybe I need to find a different wall to bang my head against? Maybe one with a plot. Or something.

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15 December 2018 - Saturday

Marith is away, and Ken and Jus went to Ken's work party, so it was just Dave and me and Ayse and Thai food for anime this week.

  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.12: Awww! And we only have one out of three straight relationships (assuming [SPOILER] and [SPOILER] ever admit they're a couple). The End!
  • Hibike! Euphonium 1-2: Before I knew the Pettersons, I would have thought a sports anime about band was weird.
  • BBK/BRNK 3: More history of the worldbuilding, but character interaction needs to get better.

Words: 117.

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14 December 2018 - Friday

Marith assures me she is not dead and her niblings like their presents, or at least their parents approve of the presents, which maybe be a completely different thing.


Croma Venture (Joel Shepherd) is the 5th book in the "Spiral Wars" series. Despite the pretty big triumph of the previous book, the Phoenix keeps going further and further from human space and getting involved in more and more alien political betrayals, because the situation is always worse. The new aliens are not that interesting, but we are getting to see some of the previously-introduced aliens act alienly.


Words: 119.

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13 December 2018 - Thursday

Marith has departed for Connecticut, where she will be oppressed by her relatives, as is her filial duty.


Words: 113.

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12 December 2018 - Wednesday

Time for Greek food and 13th Age! We had a fight with some obnoxious cultists, who our necromancer now proposes to desecrate for information and disguise. No one else thinks much of this idea.


Bryony and Roses is T Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon)'s response to Beauty and the Beast. It has a practical heroine, a sarcastic Beast, and roses seen from a gardener's point of view.


Words: 152.

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11 December 2018 - Tuesday

Marith and I watched the first two episodes of Ancient Magus' Bride, because we don't have to wait for Saturday! Oh, right, there was that bit in the beginning where she is sold as a literal slave to someone who talks about her being his bride, but after that it's magical creatures and English scenery. (So far it seems to be following the manga pretty closely.)


Humans, still not as sapient as they think.


Words: 222.

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10 December 2018 - Monday

Yay, new book from T Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon)! Swordheart is set in the same universe as Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine, and features some of the some places, but is not otherwise related. However, it does have snarky characters, and also a magic sword, a rat priest, a gnole, and a road trip.

The Mortal Word (Genevieve Cogman) is the fifth book in the "Invisible Library" series, and it looks we may be finally getting to the fundamental underpinnings of reality. Or maybe that was just a red herring. Also, less sympathetic dragons and more sympathetic fey.


Words: 141.

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9 December 2018 - Sunday

It's the yearly gingerbread party! The party was kind of thin this year because apparently a lot of people were sick, but I listened to people talk, and ate way too much Party Snack™ and even decorated half of a house. I am still terrible at parties, though.


Interspecies Reviewers vol 1 (Amahara, masha) is a little bit sexy but mostly ridiculous, because how can reviewing brothels in a fantasy setting be otherwise? It's also mostly straight, although they at least acknowledge there are women and queer people &c. Also, bonus points for knowing that hyena girls are better hung than you.


Words: 127.

Weak total: 986.

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8 December 2018 - Saturday

Hurray, it's turkey chili!


  • Sailor Moon Super S 134: Maybe Chibi-Usa didn't imagine Pegasus after all!
  • Non Non Biyori 7: There must be many dedicated and competent teachers in Japan, but you wouldn't know it by watching anime.
  • BBK/BRNK 1-2: No one hates it yet!
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.11: Still adorable.

Words: 153.

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7 December 2018 - Friday

Hurray, there's a new The Good Place! The major plot twist makes it seem like a season finale, but it's only episode 3.9! Were there three double-length episodes earlier? It's tagged as #36 overall, so maybe. I haz a confuze.


Words: 137.

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6 December 2018 - Thursday

Words: 162.

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5 December 2018 - Wednesday

After missing two weeks due to holiday gluttony and the opposite of fun, we (minus Brooks) gathered to eat Korean food and 13th Age. We were successful at one of these, but less so the other. I guess you do need a brain for gaming, otherwise you end up making plans like falling over dead and exploding into flames while in disguise and then running away.


Words: 122.

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4 December 2018 - Tuesday

Avalon is still alive, but her job is still horrible. :(


EDENS ZERO (Hiro Mashima) is a new series by the same person who wrote the wildly popular Fairy Tail, and seems to have the three important elements for shounen manga: a male character with improbable fighting skills, a female character with breasts, and an animal mascot.


Words: 108.

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3 December 2018 - Monday

I don't want to get up and start a work week, I want to stay in bed forever, because it's December.


Words: 177. New keyboard is loud, because mechanical, and a little confusing because I'm used to my old keyboard that had the CMD key in the wrong place, but otherwise very satisfactory. Which it should be, for that price!

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2 December 2018 - Sunday

Once again, it's PAD&D5!

Having survived both the fight scene where the ground was literally lava (monsters) and the following epic "Yo Momma" competition, the somewhat hungover Heroines of Red Larch set forth to rescue the innocent hostages in the encounter when they were flung into the elemental planes (weeks ago in their personal time, later this morning by objective calendars).

Unfortunately, despite Mara's abuse of the rust bag of tricks to get a riding lion for herself and a riding goat for Hazelrae, the Heorines are still on the road when they encounter many of the people they hope to rescue, dragging a seige engine under guard by [SPOILER] and associated monsters. The enemy riders race back, presumably to fetch reinforcements, leaving the Heroines to defeat a bunch of [SPOILER], a few [SPOILER], a surprise [SPOILER] that almost eats Rimardo, and the horrifying [SPOILER]. It's not an easy fight, but eventually the Heroines rescue Rimardo and do away with the [SPOILER] and all the other enemies. None of the hostages are even hurt much! However, they do need to be escorted to safety, and the Heroines need to regroup and recharge before going to rescue the others.


Words: FAIL. I can't be expected to work without commas!

Weak total: 1158.

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1 December 2018 - Saturday

Nonny had his birthday party with other kids today, so the usual evening schedule was disrupted, but he was so happy with his new mermaid tail blanket that we can't complain!

  • Non Non Biyori 6: This is not the show in which things happen, is it?
  • My Hero Academia 61-63: Yep, that's pretty much the only way Bakugo can express his feelings. But they are valid feelings! And now it is the end of season 3, so we will have to watch something else until season 4 is out!

I had more thoughts about not-Starfinder, but what even is the point?


Words: 47, because my keyboard suddenly stopped producing commas! (And less-than signs, but I don't write HTML by hand as much now that I have Scrivener.) This is awkward.

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30 November 2018 - Friday

Words: 177.

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29 November 2018 - Thursday

We tried watching some Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but apparently Marith has gone off it.


Because I'm still not very sensible, I was thinking about aliens and inventing details of the star dragons and their three life stages of which the middle one is playable, but then I realized that's not the indie way. Give the players just the core, and some leading questions about what's probably important, and let them go from there.

"Dozens of non-sapient (but adorable) juveniles of your species merged to form you. You are larger and stronger than most sophonts, even humans, but without the hyperactive need for constant motion. The right single action at the right moment is more effective than any amount of warm-blooded scurrying, and in the meantime, there is contemplation to be done. Someday, if you live long enough, if you are worthy, the correct action will be to merge with thousands of others to form a star dragon, glorious and terrible and with concerns that your present self cannot imagine."

"Questions: What is your species like? Reptilian? Insectile? Crab-like? Amphibian? Pick two capabilities you have: (list of things like natural weaponry, really big, breath underwater, etc). How do the juveniles live? Who takes care of them? Juveniles can do something you can't; what lost ability do you miss? Who decides when you are worthy to ascend? How do they judge you? How do they decide who you will merge with? What mystery of the universe is associated with the star dragons?"

Only, you know, better written.


Words: 245.

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28 November 2018 - Wednesday

No 13th Age, Ken is sick. Neither Marith nor I is, so probably it's not something he got from Roseville? Who knows, though.


Oh, that's how the doom of Over the Garden Wall is resolved. Well, okay, then!


Bring the Fire (Craig Schaefer) wraps up the "Wisdom's Grave" trilogy and in fact brings all four of the author's fantasy/horror serieses to a conclusion in which all mysteries are explained and many villains get their comeuppance. It is a little too concrete and mundane in some ways for the subject matter, but it does wrap things up, and set up for a vast future of [SPOILER] and [SPOILER] and despair, so that's... good?


Words: 220. Maybe it will work better this way?

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27 November 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 211, still meh.

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26 November 2018 - Monday

Boo, Monday!


Hurray, Avalon! Although her life is very frustrating because of humans.


Hurray, Mars Mole!


Marith and I managed to watch the next four episodes of Over the Garden Wall. Wait, there are only like two more?! But, the doom! How will the doom be resolved?


Because I am very foolish, I had to think about better ways to do Starfinder. I mean, other than just taking all the D&D out.

D&D is always, "humans can be any class, can have a bonus to any stat are super-diverse, but nah. If other species have to be stereotyped, then humans are space orcs. Give them extra hit points or harm slots or whatever, or let them keep rampaging for a bit after being mortally wounded, or both, and maybe some extra strength; they already have the belief that honor and glory come from murdering other sophonts and the inability to form bonds with anyone they haven't met in person.

Since all other species are being made up from whole cloth, we can add to the effect by making them some combination of smaller, more physically specialized, or less vigorous than humans. Like, a giant lizard alien that's stronger than human would be okay if it were also pretty torpid. Oh, and any specialization should not be long-distance running, let humans have one bonus that's not murder-related.

It's no longer the 1950s, so we don't have to believe that the 6' tall, strong-jawed American man is the evolutionary optimum all other planets vainly strive for, but probably playable species should be somewhat humanlike. (Rats with flamethrowers, for example.) Since we're in the fantasy genre, we can blame this on supernatural forces (which also shortens the timeline so it's reasonable to have comparable species coexisting). Maybe the Universal Mother Goddess has a face like a human's (for compatability with existing fantasy art, probably breasts too). Maybe the stars in the local cluster formed from a nebula with a high concentration of the Man rune. Maybe the Ancients put like with like when they stocked habitable planets so that every species would have somewhat compatible neighbors. Etc.

Ugh, too much thinking about something no one cares about! Blargh.


Words: 258, but meh.

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25 November 2018 - Sunday

I did some shopping and stuff, like a responsible adult, but nothing interesting.


Words: 159.

Weekly total: 595, but it was only a fraction of a week.

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24 November 2018 - Saturday

Roseville Thanksgiving! As usual, Al and Sherilyn were wonderful hosts, and I was a mediocre guest.

Besides the important events of eating ridiculous amounts of food and taking kids to the park, we played Azul (I'm still terrible at it) and Roll for the Galaxy (still terrible at this too), and broke open and played Sagrada (a new thing to be terrible at). Some people played Gloomhaven, but it only has room for four players, so I read Lies Sleeping.

Marith played a little bit of games with us, but mostly she slept. She was better at sleeping than me, though, so I can't complain.

On Friday night, Robert ran the Sentinel Comics RPG quickstart adventure with pregen characters. It went pretty well! The system is simple and not rigorous, about like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (from which I suspect it is partially descended), and also like any of the Marvel RPGs, it seems intended mostly for playing characters from the comics, written up by the developers. It's just that the Sentinels comics don't actually exist. Anyway, many spiderbots were defeated and a good time was had by all. (I am terrible at playing a speedster/gadgeteer, but in a different way than I am terrible at board games. Or maybe the same way.)

Because he is into Pathfinder, Al had the Starfinder core book lying around and Dave, Ken, and I all flipped through it to varying degrees. The cover art has a rat with a flamethrower, which is promising, and the game does have some ideas that are not terrible at first glance, like the bug people who are a defective offshoot of the Hive-Mind Space Locust Menace, and the star/black hole-themed space paladin class, and hyperdrive that tears pieces off other planes, but it also has hit points per level and spell slots per day and endless lists of weapons and feats which are almost all useless because there are only a handful of optimal builds. Space fantasy could be interesting, but not if I have to slog through D&D to do it. (Scum and Villainy would probably work with little change if you didn't mind the mission-oriented structure.) Also, more game designers need to read tumblr so they don't feel obliged to make stereotypical hulking lizard guys with a brutal yet somehow honorable warrior culture to be space orcs when humans fill that niche perfectly.

I thought I was doing okay after about two days of sleeping not in my own bed, but then I yelled at Ken over something completely trivial. Probably this means I should always stay home and never visit again.

When I got home, I actually had energy like you're supposed to after a vacation! But I used it all on chores and saving Marith from a giant bug.


Lies Sleeping (Ben Aaronovitch) is the seventh and apparently last of the "Rivers of London" series. At least, it wraps up the plot threads from the first book until now, even though there is clearly a lot of other stuff that is or could be happening in that world. A series with Abigail, and maybe witch girl from the sixth book and some of the younger rivers who are not down with the status quo, could be awesome.


Words: VACATION.

Useful and important by marithlizard (Wed Nov 28 19:31:14 2018)

Saving me from the giant bug was EXTREMELY important and useful! And I did worse than you at the games we played, so nyah, or something. And Robert seemed very happy about the Sentinels game, so you were a good enough player to support rather than traumatize the relatively inexperienced GM :)

Re: Useful and important by Trip (Thu Nov 29 13:23:29 2018)

It was definitely a very impressive bug.

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20 November 2018 - Tuesday

Last Dragon Standing (Rachel Aaron) wraps up the "Heartstriker" series. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying it is pretty much a happy ending, but there is a lot of drama where one failed roll could have ruined everything. Also, there may be mushy stuff.

The new "Rivers of London" book is out, so I reread The Hanging Tree (Ben Aaronovitch) to make sure I'm ready. Oh, that's how that worked out, right!


Words: 222.

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19 November 2018 - Monday

Out of a probably self-destructive desire to not miss too much work, I took the earliest eye doctor appointment I could, which meant getting up an hour and a half early. This did not lead to keeping my eyes wide open, but eventually they were certified as "no worse than expected" which really is probably about the most I could have hoped for.

Now I can try to get glasses that are not ancient and terrible. (I don't need my eyewear to be +10 levels, really.)


A Dragon of a Different Color (Rachel Aaron) is the fourth book in the "Heartstrikers" series. The antagonists' plans are really getting going now, but most of the book is cosmology and talking to spirits, so that's cool.


Words: 214.

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18 November 2018 - Sunday

No gaming, only Zuul. And a new microwave.


Since we're all caught up on The Good Place, Marith and I watched the first four episodes of Over the Garden Wall. Well, that was spooky. And also nonsensical. And what's up with the turtles?


The second omnibus of Dragon Half (Ryusuke Mita), containing the original volumes 3-4, continues well past where the anime ended and not very productively. It seems like side quests on side quests, which offer lots of room for gags, but at least the in the previous omnibus it seemed like the gags were in service of something.


Words: 147.

Weekly total: 1113.

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17 November 2018 - Saturday

Nonny's wish for his birthday dinner was sushi with videos and capsules, and so that is what we did! Then he got presents and also cake!

  • Sailor Moon Super S 131-132: More monsters oppressing girls' beautiful dreams, but it does them no good. As usual, the biggest threat to Sailor Moon's success is Usagi.
  • Non Non Biyori 4: Wow, an airplane!
  • My Hero Academia 53-56: Apparently there's a reason UA has the reputation it does. (And it's all because Eraserhead is such a tsundere.)

Words: 181.

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16 November 2018 - Friday

Yay, more The Good Place! In 3.7 and 3.8, we get to see how weird humans are, how annoying demons are, and how awesome Janet is.


Words: 139.

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15 November 2018 - Thursday

Ken lured me to play Gloomhaven, but although we successfully defeated a large map full of annoying monsters at difficulty +1, it took until almost 23:00. This just does not work.


Minimum Wage Magic (Rachel Aaron) is the first of a spinoff series from the series about the dragons in a not-at-all-Shadowrun future of returned magic. Mostly it is about a young mage with a complicated backstory trying to make her way in the sketchy city-of-no-laws. There is a hot guy, and also annoying loan terms.


Prism is a hard game to describe. It's very simple and diceless, everyone is merperson and probably queer, it's about conflict resolution and relationships, the art is sexy (because yes, that kind of relationship is definitely included) but too abstract to be NSFW. It is not an action-adventure game.


Words: 141.

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14 November 2018 - Wednesday

Once again, it is time for 13th Age and Indian food!

This session was spent entirely in exploration of a creepy cave city full of magical nonsense and deranged cultists. We're pretty sure it's the right place, we just need to figure out what to do to it.


Words: 144.

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13 November 2018 - Tuesday

Ghirardelli has been off his feed a bit lately, so Marith helped me cart him to the vet. Highways are difficult, but we made it eventually, and Ghirardelli was very well-behaved and did not give the vet or the vet-techs any trouble at all. (Because he is an excellent kitty.)

Now his neck lump is drained, and tomorrow we will know the results of his blood work, and he did eat some when we got home, so probably he will be okay.


Words: 206.

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12 November 2018 - Monday

It's Veterans' Day (or Remembrance Day, if you're in a country that prefers peace to war), so no work for me. Instead I went shopping, and then went shopping some more. Now my clothes have a better place to live than a laundry hamper. Also I had to throw away a bunch of old clothes, so they are no longer taking up space in my closet.

It's Holiday Candy Season at Trader Joe's.


Words: 155.

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11 November 2018 - Sunday

The air is still full of smoke, so Dave and I walked less briskly to PAD&D5, but were not overrun by fires.

As the Heroines of Red Larch finally emerge from the depths, their new friend [SPOILER] is surprised to be abducted for a talking-to by [SPOILER], but it's not really the Heroines' problem. They hardly knew the guy!

Their great tour of the planes of existence has returned them a couple of days before they were banished, so the Heroines consider averting the whole somewhat embarrassing episode, but decide to leave the fabric of time intact for now and instead head for Red Larch, where they know trouble is about to happen.

Fortunately, Red Larch has levelled up militarily since the Heroines first visited, but unfortunately, the trouble knows that Red Larch has Heroines, and has laid a clever ambush for them. As the Heroines approach the gate, suddenly EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE! This is extremely inconvenient in many ways, but although things look bad for a bit, the Heroines manage to defeat the enemy leaders and the ambush falls apart. The town is saved! (More saved than it would have been on its own, anyway.)

After an all-night victory party (long rests are for wimps!), the Heroines head out to rescue the village that was taken when they were banished. Surely the enemy will not expect them to attack immediately after the banishment!

Next session is 2018-12-02, it looks like.


Words: 166.

Weekly total: 1237. Ugh.

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10 November 2018 - Saturday

No shopping, only sleepiness. And pizza.


  • Sailor Moon Super S 130: Oh yeah, they claimed points for that DNPC, didn't they?
  • Non Non Biyori 3: To a farmer, all kids are free labor, doesn't matter whose they are.
  • My Hero Academia 50-52: We didn't get to see Froppy's ultimate move! Maybe next time, when they take the provisional test.
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.10: Can a Magical Girl keep both love and chuunibyo in her heart? Will we get the poly ending?

Words: 149.

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9 November 2018 - Friday

Today the office celebrated Diwali, which means free Indian food, but also a lot of people being loud and festive, so meh.


The life of an Avalon is always intense! Possibly because she works for an organization that employs humans.


Words: 116.

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8 November 2018 - Thursday

My plan for this evening was to play Gloomhaven with Ken and Dave and Brooks, but then President* Shithead tried to obstruct justice again.

In theory I should have been able to ride the light rail right to downtown, but in fact there was a problem with the electrons and a lot of messing around with bus bridges. I blame Republicans for this too. But almost everyone on the train was going to the rally.

Despite that, the rally was not very big, only a few hundred people (I think), but it was 17:00 on a weekday with one day's notice, so that's not surprising. Also, fuck Trump and his entire unqualified grifty mob.

The rally broke up by 18:00, so I went to Monkeycat Mountain after all, and ate leftovers and waited for Brooks to show up and eventually played Gloomhaven late into the night. We could totally have done that adventure at level 2.


Words: 124.

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7 November 2018 - Wednesday

Now that Halloween is safely past, it's time for Thai food and 13th Age!

Despite the confusion spell and general horribleness of the battle, the PCs did much better this time than last time they faced the giant golem of lasers and death. Victory! Long rest! Incremental advance!

Also there was more discussion of Mike's upcoming 13G campaign, which sounds like it is going to be extremely railroady.


I finally got caught up with the "Laundry Files" series so I could read The Labyrinth Index (Charles Stross), but sadly I did not like it as much as the past few. Mhari is not as engaging a narrator as Bob or Mo or even Alex, the whole thing felt like a complete sidequest, and what we were shown at the heart of the OPA was not horrifying enough to support how they've been built up. Maybe [SPOILER] being in charge makes everything worse even on a meta level.


Words: 177.

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6 November 2018 - Tuesday

I gave in and signed up for a real Hulu account so we can keep watching The Good Place. 3.5 and 3.6 are still good. I'm not sure whose family is worst, but they are, indeed, all fucked up in different ways.


Words: 193.

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5 November 2018 - Monday

Date with Avalon! For very sedate values of "date" because I am old and it is late at night for her and also because Internet.


Reread The Delirium Brief (Charles Stross), in which the enemy scores a critical hit using Bureaucracy skill. Now I am ready to start The Labyrinth Index again!


Words: 312. That's something, I guess?

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4 November 2018 - Sunday

Wow, my leg that I banged up last week is a remarkable shade of purple now.


Today all I did was reread The Annihilation Score (the one from Mo's PoV) and The Nightmare Stacks (the one partly from Alex's PoV). Only one to go before I can start on the new one!

I guess this is what they call resting, but it's terribly unproductive. Worse than usual, I mean.


Words: 123. I realized I should have done something different from the beginning, but don't want to go back and change the existing chapters (and not only because I don't know how to count that against my quota). I guess I'll just go forward as though the changes have been made and pretend like there could be a rewrite later?

Weekly total: 1302. Bad trend.

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3 November 2018 - Saturday

Hurray for weekend routine! Boo for being a person who like routine!


Hurray for apple cider chicken!


  • Sailor Moon Super S 128-129: A pegacorn! Dead Moon Circus! A new round of soul extractions begins!
  • Non Non Biyori 2: Did they ever figure that out?
  • My Hero Academia 48-49: Wow! That was quite a plot development! Ganbatte, Midoriya!

Words: 106.

what's wrong with liking routine? by marithlizard (Tue Nov 6 09:45:56 2018)

If you don't have a control established, how can you properly judge whether or not you like it when you try something different?

Re: what's wrong with liking routine? by Trip (Thu Nov 15 12:56:16 2018)

Liking routine is the opposite of creativity and interestingness! All popular culture assures me of this!

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2 November 2018 - Friday

The new "Laundry" book is out, but as often happens with later books in a series, when I started it, I realized I didn't remember the previous book well enough, and then when I started that, I realized I didn't remember the one before that, etc. This time, the curves of "how many times I read this" vs "how long ago was the last time I read this" intersect at The Rhesus Chart, which is the one about the wunch of bankers who accidentally quant in too many dimensions and make everything increasingly worse. Also Bob gets hosed.


Words: 144.

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1 November 2018 - Thursday

I finally walked home the usual way, and my leg was fine. Now I feel slightly embarrassed to have ever mentioned it. It's not like I did martial arts so hard my tibia exploded and I had to be rushed to the hospital for surgery and transfusions, or anything.

Avalon is doing fine. :)


I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year. I failed last year and I'm not any less lame or busy this year, so there doesn't seem much point. I will stick to my (extremely) slow and (more-or-less) steady routine.

Words: 234.

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31 October 2018 - Wednesday

No 13th Age, it's Halloween!

By the time Marith and I made it over to Monkeycat Mountain, Nonny was done being in costume for the day (after school party and public trick-or-treating), but we got to admire Jus as Hermione. So adorable! Then we played Azul until Marith's brain fell out and admired Jus's haul from second trick-or-treating and went back home.


Words: 220.

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30 October 2018 - Tuesday

I once again avoided walking home by riding the bus to try to buy parts to fix the toilet seat I broke when I olded.


Words: 157.

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29 October 2018 - Monday

It is pure coincidence that having to go grocery shopping today to make up for going to Pumpkin Extravaganza on Saturday is keeping me from walking all the way home on my abused leg. (It is not actually that bad, but taking it easy for a couple of days is unlikely to hurt it worse.)


Words: 318.

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28 October 2018 - Sunday

I am now officially A Oldz, because I slipped getting out of the shower and banged up my leg. At least I didn't break my hip or throw my back out! I did shear off the toilet seat, though. Stupid plastic bolts.

That made going to PAD&D5 less fun, or at least less quick, but whatever. I offered Dave the chance to leave me to be eaten by wolves, which is all I'm obligated to do in that situation, right?

This week, the Heroines of Red Larch turn on their captors! The Fire Nation I mean [SPOILER] attacks, and while the [SPOILER] are lounging around decadently, going "Oh, look, blood and agony, how... quaint", Hazelrae (who due to absence-related shenanigans is mixed in with the attackers, seizes her chance! It might have been better if she had let the two sides wear each other down, but in the end the Heroines hold the field. Some of the [SPOILER] escape, but no one is fussed about that. Surely they have learned their lesson.

On the way out of the depths, the Heroines fall into a cunning trap laid by [SPOILER] and have to fight a bunch of [SPOILER], but even though Lam gets subverted for a bit, justice prevails! Also the rumored treasure is obtained.

It looks like the next session will be in a fortnight, continuing the off-phase forced upon us by life.


Words: 236.

Weekly total: 1321. That's better than last week, but that's about the most I can say for that number.

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27 October 2018 - Saturday

Today was Pumpkin Patch Day, with corn maze, terrible (I assume) food, a very short train ride, and um the other thing. But Jus and Nonny liked it, and that is who it is for!

Afterwards, we Doordashed some sushi and had cakes for the trinity of October birthday-havers, Ayse, Marith, and Cat. Hurray cakes! Happy birthdays!

  • Sailor Moon S 38: The end! But now we're set up for Super S!
  • The Disguiser 1: This has most of the same actors as Nirvana in Fire, and I think the same director, but is otherwise more like Peking Opera Blues with the Japanese invading and the KMT vs the Communists together against them and all that. Also, doom. I have no idea what's going on, but that was true after the first episode of NiF as well.

Words: 191.

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26 October 2018 - Friday

There was some amount of festivity at work today, so I snuck out. Fun, who needs it?


I finally managed to cancel my account at Large Unethical For-Profit Bank! Now I am a proud member of the Credit Union-Using Commies!


Words: 232.

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25 October 2018 - Thursday

For no particular reason, we watched The Road to El Dorado. It wasn't terrible, and also it had Chel. But all the other characters were guys, so bah.


Words: 133.

Road to El Dorado by marithlizard (Mon Oct 29 21:37:54 2018)

They were entertaining con men with a good rapport and not a complete lack of morals, what more do you want? :) But I had misremembered the portrayal of the Aztecs/Maya/whatevertheyweresupposedtobe as less cringeworthy and more "everyone here is on to you, we're just going along with it for our own ends." Also wow, gur vzcyvrq sngr bs gur uvtu cevrfg jnf cerggl njshy for a PG movie.

Re: Road to El Dorado by Trip (Tue Oct 30 07:47:07 2018)

Maya, I think. I thought the [SPOILER] was on to them from pretty early on, but the unnamed characters were pretty shallow.

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24 October 2018 - Wednesday

13th Age and Italian food.

Since we only get an hour or so to play, this session was mostly spent fighting flying architecture on narrow stairways over a vast pit (we r0xx0red them), and then admiring the gigantic doom waiting at the bottom of the pit and poking it with sticks.


Words: 194.

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23 October 2018 - Tuesday

Hey, I finally caught up journaling about the con!


The Consuming Fire (John Scalzi) is the second in the "Interdependency" series, following The Collapsing Empire, and contains many interesting plot developments, some with ramifications yet to be explored, and some outright cliffhangers. Also Kiva remains awesome, and I think she may secretly be a Zen master.


Words: 162.

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22 October 2018 - Monday

Avalon is still alive! Mostly.


Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes (Cory O'Brien) is the book version of Mythos Retold!. Need I say more? I need not.


Words: 173.

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21 October 2018 - Sunday

I'd like to think I'm recovered from the con, but I didn't actually manage to do anything today, not even move boxes in off the balcony, so maybe not. Or maybe I just suck. Or both!


Hinowa ga Crush vol 1 (TAKAHIRO, strelka) has a female protagonist but is very shounen, and also has the most disgusting limitation on the Deduction skill that I have ever seen. Seriously, ewww.

I saw the Dragon Half anime years ago and though it was cute but sadly incomplete. It turns out there is a manga (by Ryusuke Mita) as well, recently translated, and it is just as silly and somewhat raunchier (as you might expect).


Words: 167.

Weak total: 1013. I think I need more ideas. Or brains.

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20 October 2018 - Saturday

Yay, Ayse has started watching The Good Place and likes it and has Theories. Marith and I tried to look innocent.

  • Non Non Biyori 1: It's like Higurashi without any of the genre elements! Also kind of adorable, although not any more eventful than Laid-Back Camp.
  • My Hero Academia 46-47: After every super battle, there must be a recrimination phase. At least Iida is showing his leadership potential by making the PCs get a plan other than "sneak in until we're spotted and then charge". (Why are we not playing Masks?)
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.9: Rikka will prove that love and chuunibyo can live in the same heart! Just you watch!

Words: 111.

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19 October 2018 - Friday

Finally Marith and I watched some more The Good Place and are all caught up through 3.4. "If you take all the juice out, they're dead!"


Words: 116.

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18 October 2018 - Thursday

A customer wanted a thing (which is only an issue because they completely ignored the other thing I did for them earlier) so I had to stay at work for an extra couple of hours. This is hardly traumatic in the grand scheme of things, but bleah. What if I had important tumblr-browsing to do during that time?!


The Swallower of Souls is a quickstart for the currently-kickstarting Chronicles of Future Earth. I backed the kickstarter because I like distant-future things, but the adventure is not that novel, and I don't think using d6-d6 instead of 4d3-8 for Fate Core overcomes my inability to use it.

The Indie Hack also uses d6-d6, but it's more like a stripped-down version of Dungeon World. Every two points above a net 0 lets you declare one detail (which could be a point of damage), every two points below lets the GM declare one. When your damage track is filled up, you have to face one of the three goddesses of death, who might make a deal with you. It's a general system, not specific moves like in DW, which I would once have preferred even though I was looking in the direction of moves a million years ago. Ah well.


Words: 132.

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17 October 2018 - Wednesday

After the con, it's back to the modified D&D of 13th Age and Greek food. We've reached the part where the dungeon is collapsing around us, that's got to be a good sign, right?


FTL, Y'all! (ed C Spike Trotman, Amanda LaFrenais) is an anthology of diverse short comics around the premise "what if anyone could build a hyperdrive for $200 in parts?". Almost all of the stories are slice-of-life from after that point, about people who are bopping around finding weird things to vlog or doing legitimate research or trying to remediate Earth's environment after everyone left or scavenging from earlier generations of starfarers. Almost none of the art styles really grabbed me, alas. I think I might be A Old.


Words: 144.

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16 October 2018 - Tuesday

Ew, work. I like going to cons and resting up from cons both better.


Words: 199.

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15 October 2018 - Monday

I must be getting old, going to a single con and even getting six or seven hours sleep every night still wiped me out.

So what did I learn from this year's Big Bad Con? That I need to bring:

  • Snacks! Everybody likes the person who brings snacks!
  • Index cards, for making all kinds of things, although for nameplates specifically, the folding dry-erase things the lady in the Scum & Villainy game had would be even better.
  • Protein bars, because sometimes the restaurants are made of fail or there just isn't time or brainpower to hunt down food.
  • Dice that don't roll for crap!

    Also a brain and the spirit of volunteerism, because I am sure I can run at least as well as the first two GMs I played Masks with. Masks seems a little complex for a first try at can GMing, though, I'll probably go with Dungeon World.

    I definitely want to play Masks more, though. So far I have been making characters up on the spot, but Kevan (who played Miss Miracle in Carl's game, apparently not for the first time) mentioned he has character concepts and names already worked out for all the playbooks, and that seems like a clever thing to do. Superhero names are hard!


    Words: 144.

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14 October 2018 - Sunday

I didn't have anything scheduled for the morning session, so I could have slept in, but that would mean wasting one of my few precious chances to ever play a game that's not D&D, and it turns out that was enough to overcome staying up past midnight twice in a row.

My card was drawn fairly near the beginning of the Gaming on Demand allotment, so I was able to get into a game of Scum & Villainy (Blades in the Dark × (Star Wars − trademarked terms)) with some other random people. By GM fiat we were a Rebel crew and had to break out of the prison we had gotten ourselves thrown into as part of our plan, but that was fine, it's not like he gave us pregen characters or anything. I played an ex-military repair robot, and we also had a treasonous noble, a snake-lady Muscle, a silver-tongued Scoundrel, and a murderous Jedi space wizard. The noble was best, she was Organized. "You couldn't get the door open? I guess we're on to plan D, then. You do remember the flowchart, don't you? And this will definitely be brought up in the after-action debriefing." Despite our general inability to roll anything over a 4, we did escape prison and hack the communications relay, and had time left over to steal an experimental new stealth ship.

The GM was really good about calling out whether situations were desperate, risky, or controlled, and whether actions would have a reduced, normal, or greater effect, which I found very helpful. These concepts are probably as central to S&V/BitD as "to do the move, do it" is to DW.

The last game of the con was Masks vs Parental Expectations with Carl, and it was probably the best of the con. (I say only "probably" because I was getting pretty frazzled after 24 hours of gaming in two days.) This was the only game out of seven that had no women at the table, but fortunately we had only the good kind of male players, not the obnoxious kind. (I found the Peeper obnoxious, but only until I realized Cy(?) was playing a 14-year-old boy perfectly.) I played the Bull, Titania, raised and cyborged by crazy machine cultists who were very disappointed in her clinging to outmoded human ways. It's hard being a brick when you want to be an elegant gothic lolita. (Did you know there are geeks who had never heard of loligoth fasion?!) We also had the Janus, Miss Miracle, who of course could only field-test her amazing invention by going out and using it to fight crime; the Legacy of a deadbeat speedster who wanted to restore honor to the Cyclone line; and the Peeper, a Beacon with stealth and phasing and an inability to stay out of the newspapers. (This is the same powerset as my Beacon yesterday, but having a good player makes all the difference.) It was awesome, we spent almost as much time on the flashback to the fight where they all met as on the actual adventure because it was fun. I want to grow up to be this good a gamer someday.

If I were a nice person, I would have gone to dinner with Carl and Liralen and everyone, but instead I went home and died in a pit.


Words: VACATION.

Weekly total: 389, but four days of vacation.

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13 October 2018 - Saturday

I'm almost certain I used to be able to get out of bed before 8. Like, yesterday.

This was the day of experimental games (also known as the day when I couldn't get into the games I really wanted because phased signups ensured they were all full). First was The Far Vale, in which we were D&D-style adventurers who had died while looking for the Unicorns' Graveyard and found themselves in an unexepected afterlife. It was run using the WiP/playtest version of Tox, a nominally generic and fairly simple and abstract system. I think I mostly figured out how the dice worked, but some people didn't, and I never really understood what was included in my "Seer" training card. We managed to have fun anyway, probably by being loons.

In the afternoon, it was Craft Your World, Defend It 'til Death using Heroic Dark, which apparently is still in too early of a development phase to even be on the Internets. It is not as abstract, although still quite generic; everything you can do is lumped into a few categories like attack, maneuver, gain information, etc, and powers let you do action X (or foil enemy action Y) with skill Z in situation W. You roll 5d6 and hope for 6s, with some bonus 6s from skills/specialities and a number of rerolled dice equal to your stat, which I found frustrating because I can't roll for beans. If some of this sounds like Fate, apparently that's not an accident.

There is a somewhat Microscope-like section at the beginning of the game, where the group determines what kind of world this is, what the darkness threatening it is, and what the people living in the world are doing about it. The magical girls were completely my fault, but not the steampunk!

My character was a random girl who got bonked on the head with a magical girl artifact that fell as part of the meteor storms and was then attacked by monsters and had to fight them off with her new unicorn-dragon-thing. We also had a steampunk inventor (Tony Spark) with powered armor who wanted to integrate magical girl power and steampunk power because neither could defeat the darkness on its own, a disillusioned magical girl who thought steampunk was the way to go, the perfectly normal engineer who got pulled into all this because she wasn't going to let a 12-year-old run around fighting monsters on her own regardless of whether she had a unicorn-dragon-thing, and a crazy shouting old guy with an unhealthy attachment to his scooter. It was tricky (until we found out you could spend heroic points for +3 successes, which is a good deal in a one-shot), but we did manage to defeat the Dark Lord of Apathy and save the tin foundry. Hurray!

Rather than trying to find a new place to eat in the short time between afternoon and evening games, I went back to the pho joint and ate more tasty, tasty noodle soup.

Back to known games for Urban Dungeon World, DW characters going on a heist in a city instead of a quest in a dungeon. This GM actually understood PbtA and asking questions, so once I infected the group with the idea of a city built on the skeleton of a dead dragon, we had some worldbuilding and economic catastrophe due to the marrow mines playing out and the Man keeping the halfling down. My halfing defender of the oppressed had the chain from when she was on a chain gang in prison as her signature weapon, and it carried all the spirits of those who had died while shackled (though she never had a good opportunity to call on them). We also had a humanist priest, a noble bard, a wizard who flamed out of magic school, and a dwarf who tried really hard to assimilate with the humans. Someone hired us to steal a thing from a guy and promised to share the ultimate power with us, and nobody liked the guy who had the thing, so we did the heist. We actually got through the traps and frog-goons okay (although the dwarf did get his fancy golden teeth ripped out by a rock monster), but it ended up with the bard taking the Maguffin and sacrificing himself to renew the marrow mine, and everyone else had to go report partial failure and then head off to join in the revolution. It was pretty swell.


Words: VACATION.

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12 October 2018 - Friday

In the morning slot, there were no games I had wanted to sign up for (or maybe no games still open at all, I don't remember), so I went to the panel on sexuality and romance in gaming, which turned out to be more about relationships and intimacy and the bankruptness of the romantic subplot railroad compared to the idiosyncratic ways actual relationships progress from intimacy to intimacy. There was also some about how to talk to people you find attractive, with mention of the disintegration of social networks after WWI that I would have liked to hear more about.

I tried to go someplace picked out of the restaurant guide in the con schedule for lunch, but it didn't seem to exist, so I ended up at a diner called ButtercuP and had chicken marsala because Trader Joe's no longer sells marsala sauce for me to eat at home.

There was enough time to peek in on the panel on Modern Imagination (be respectful when yoinking culture, appreciate your sensitivity readers) and pillage the dealers' room for hardcopies of things I had only backed in PDF on Kickstarter and then regretted, before my first actual game of the con started.

In Masks: Homecoming, I played the Beacon, but did not do a very good job. I am proud of making her a Muslim cheerleader with headscarf and covered legs (plus it meant she could wear her superhero costume under her cheerleading uniform at the big game), but phasing and stealth are maybe not as flamboyant as a Beacon should be. Or maybe it's me that's not as flamboyant. Yah, that seems pretty likely.

The GM had a clever idea about custom moves when your character's favorite song is playing during the homecoming dance, but that ended up not being the scene for the climactic final confrontation, so it fell a little flat. More importantly, I don't think he got the important PbtA principle of "to do the move, do it", or at least he didn't explain it at all. The pacing was also a little slow. On the other hand, Sarita, who played the vampire who sucked my Monsterhearts character dry last year, was playing the Bull in this game. She's cool.

For dinner, I tried to get Japanese food, but they left me sitting for half an hour without taking my order, and I didn't have time for that nonsense. I ended up going back to the hotel restaurant, which was not great, but it was food so that I did not die. I guess at a con, you take what you can get.

In the evening slot, more Masks! Stop Toying With Us was another school-dance-oriented session, and bizarrely had pregen characters. I've never seen that in a PbtA game! I ended up with Trent, the Legacy speedster, lacrosse team captain, BMOC, and boyfriend of the head cheerleader, also a PC (another role I am not suited to play). I can't deny that pregens are quicker, but they were much less engaging, not just my character who I didn't get to create, but all the other characters who weren't created by the group.

I'm almost certain I used to be able to stay up until midnight without imploding.


Words: VACATION.

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11 October 2018 - Thursday

Getting to Walnut Creek by transit takes a long time, but I made it and got checked in and everything without incident. Carl was doing something with his secret cabal of indie gamers, so I went with Liralen and her friend Kevan and Kevan's husband Greg (who is very quiet) to have pho. Pho is good, even though I avoided it for a long time because I am a messy eater.

Tonight was mostly socialization, not serious gaming events, but a bunch of people playing a two-player game and switching partners after every round is like socialization. Thank You Kindly is a game in which two characters interact for a few minutes, and then the players decide which one was more like Red Riding Hood and which was more like the Big Bad Wolf. There were four rounds, but after the third round I ended up talking with my partner(? - not opponent!) Patrick for so long that we missed the fourth round. I don't know that I need to play this game again, since I already knew I am rubbish at being the Wolf.

After that was the Soda Pop Social. I brought many strange sodas (even my small local Bevmo had quite a few, although not as many as the big one in MV) but only drank a few because none of them were diet.

While I was waiting for Liralen, I must have looked lonely, because one of the BBC staff, Jeremy, came over and started talking to me. He was pretty cool, actually! And then Liralen arrived, and more people started to accrete, including Meguey Baker, and some people named I think Sasha and Montse. It was quite the happening table, for a few minutes!

On the principle of "begin as you mean to go on", I went to bed at a reasonable hour.

That trick never works.


Words: VACATION.

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10 October 2018 - Wednesday

Ken is, bizarrely, back from Portland, so we played 13th Age, but the food we got from Mint & Basil was not edible by anyone named Shields, so although our wizard blew up all the skeletons and the minorog, we could not really call it a successful evening.


Words: 153.

Escaping from Portland by marithlizard (Tue Oct 16 16:19:44 2018)

Why bizarrely? Did you think Ken would become trapped in the sinsister clutches of Voodoo Donuts, requiring an enormous ransom of powdered sugar for his return? *eyes last week's shopping list in sudden suspicion*

Re: Escaping from Portland by Trip (Tue Oct 16 20:18:41 2018)

I figured Ayse would just start living in Portland and make him stay there forever.

Re: Escaping from Portland by marithlizard (Wed Oct 17 02:49:43 2018)

Thank goodness for the anchoring properties of hous^H^H^^Hproperties!

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9 October 2018 - Tuesday

It's like Monday, on Tuesday! Or vice versa.


Avalon's life is very strange.


Words: 125.

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8 October 2018 - Monday

I only managed to do a few things today, but I did manage to get to Chef Chu in Mountain View for dinner with Liralen and Carl (who I will see at Big Bad Con) and also Earl and Cat (everyone else bailed for silly reasons like work or germs). Yay, Peking duck!

Mountain View is not very conveniently located.


Looks like my boss has been promising customers support on a company holiday.


Avarice (Annie Bellet) is fantasy police procedural, with two partners who have dark pasts and nothing in common, because of course. It is allegedly part of the "Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division" series, but the other books don't seem to exist on Amazon, so I don't know.


Words: 111.

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7 October 2018 - Sunday

I did not manage to do any things, except reach the daily limit on reblogging leftist rants and half-dressed anime girls on tumblr.


Words: 275 on the new project.

Weekly total: 2199, but it probably doesn't count.

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6 October 2018 - Saturday

Franken Fran (Katsuhisa Kigitsu) shows that biomedical horror is the most horrible horror. Even if Fran herself is cute in a horrible way.


  • Sailor Moon S 36-37: Jus had a good theory, which was then not supported by the actual writing. Perhaps this is the day on which she counts as a fan.
  • Laid-Back Camp 12: The End! Although I hear there's a season 2 coming.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 2.3: Mammalian reproduction is the pits.
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.8: I think we could have done without the Predatory Lesbian trope, but that's pretty much my only complaint.
  • My Hero Academia 44-45: End of this villain attack! But it couldn't happen to a nicer more deserving rival.

Words: 385 on new project.

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5 October 2018 - Friday

More Gloomhaven! We succeeded, and I got two checks for not using any items, even though it caused me to pass out on the last turn.


Words: 209 on new project.

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4 October 2018 - Thursday

Avalon is very tired, but alive!


Marith cooked salmon with dill and lemon, and it turned out very well!

Also we watched The Good Place episode 27, the double-length opener for season 3. It was definitely with signing up for Hulu's free trial on the card I'm going to close soon for, although not as great as some past episodes.


Words: 222.

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3 October 2018 - Wednesday

Even though Ken is in Portland, those of us who had not already made other plans (so, just me and Mike) hung out with Dave. We talked about running a game in Glorantha, but did not have a quorum to either accept or reject 13th Age Glorantha, so were restricted to higher-level discourse. We agreed that PCs should lose powers if they don't properly worship the gods with their community, and that flashbacks are a good way to introduce Glorantha stuff to n00bs. Also we ate Indian food (I think this is the one).

Once the table was cleared off, we tried introduce Mike to Gloomhaven, and mostly succeeded. Even though we were replaying a scenario, it took forever to set up, because there are not just a million piece, but a million different kinds of pieces. Then we failed to have the boss do anything except summon elite minions, so we could not get to the treasure chest behind the door that only he could open, and eventually had to give up because it was late and Dave's brain was imploding and probably we would wipe even if we played out the rest of the fight. Bah!


Words: 120.

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2 October 2018 - Tuesday

The doctor seemed approving of the results of my life choices, and if I can manage to get lab work done, I might even have fewer pills to take. Also I am about 5kg less than before, which always makes doctors happy.


While trundling back and forth to the doctor's office, which is not very conveniently located, I read the fourth Murderbot story, which pretty much wraps things up. Hurray for Murderbot!

Also I read a short story by Scott Lynch, "The Effigy Engine", which was fine but not amazingly astounding. It did have a nice breadth of magic, with almost every spell cast on-screen being unique (although some were clearly not unique overall).


Marith and I went to see the My Hero Academia movie, because it was unexpectedly playing at a local theater tonight. It was okay, but suffered from being episodic and not tied into the main plot or character development. Also, they introduced a new female character just for the movie, and while I'm okay with Deku getting all the chicks, I couldn't help thinking that every moment she was onscreen could have been spent on Froppy instead.


Words: 165.

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1 October 2018 - Monday

Words: 823 on new project (total 1399). Only a few zillion more and I can show it to people!

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30 September 2018 - Sunday

I was so useless today! Even more useless than that!


Because I had the DVD from Netflix, I watched Hancock. That was kind of a strange movie. But it presented not being an asshole as a good thing, which we need more of.


Words: 576 on a completely different project, which I will count anyway.

Weekly total: 1535.

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29 September 2018 - Saturday

Sword & Backpack is awfully cute, but I'm not sure I know anyone who could play it successfully.


Unicorn on a Roll (Dana Simpson) is I guess the second collection of comic strips about an unspeakably vain unicorn and the 4th-grader who wished for her as a best friend. It is pretty adoable.


It turns out everyone likes apple cider donuts.

  • Sailor Moon S 35/124: Things look bad for the good guys, but we have three more episodes for them to get even worse!
  • Laid-Back Camp 11: Was Japan a nation of everyday alcoholism before the US occupied them? Maybe it just goes with the baseball.
  • My Hero Academia 42-43: Some people's quirks are just gross.
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.7: Only the truly exceptional have room in their hearts for love AND chuunibyo!

Words: 175.

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28 September 2018 - Friday

Coworker M's going-away party was this afternoon. I went, to pretend like I can function in human society, but then left early, because it's not a very strong ruse.


Words: 124. I have no excuse, I just suck.

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27 September 2018 - Thursday

Had to do a work thing for a customer after hours, and it ran until almost 23:00. Bah, customers.


Words: 151. I blame customers.

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26 September 2018 - Wednesday

Ken was afflicted by train delays (it's almost as though railroads aren't particularly safe), and Kelsey was entirely thwarted by capitalism sucking out her life force, but we still managed to have Indian food and a little 13th Age. Mostly we just planned what to do next in our quest to save the world from being eaten. Fortunately this friend we've made would never betray us, right?


Even Mike thinks 13th Age Glorantha is too complicated!

Ken made faces at the idea of using Dungeon World, but I think this idea has traction, even if I can't adequately explain to Mike how DW works. (Possibly a sign that I don't fully understand it myself.)

Glorantha World isn't quite a reskin of DW, but if we go the minimal route, instead of "fixing" everything that's "wrong" with DW, I think we only need to change last breath and end of session of the basic moves. We'll need all new playbooks, though.


Even though I don't like D&D any more, I like reading OSR stuff for the gonzoness, and Gathox Vertical Slum definitely falls into that category. A crowded city built on the back of a god that wanders from world to world, picking up random science-fantasy weirdos who form gangs to seize territory, is not innately very D&D, but it is gonzo.


Words: 135.

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25 September 2018 - Tuesday

Marith did cooking again. It was even tastier, maybe because there was more marination.


Words: 237.

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24 September 2018 - Monday

It's not like my weekend was strenuous, but it involved a lot of people all the time. Do I really have to go to work?

Yes. Yes, I do.


Even in Canada, capitalism annoys Avalon with jobs full of horrible coworkers. Bah.


Marith did more cooking, so I did not starve!


Even if I take all the D&D out of DW, I think it's still DW because I'm not changing the GM rules, and those are arguably the core of the system.

Game design is hard, let's die in a pit.


Words: 137.

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23 September 2018 - Sunday

Deirdre is full of germs, but we had PAD&D anyway.

The party after last session's great victory is suddenly interrupted by word that the Heroines' way home has become unstable and they need to go right away! [SPOILER] leads them through the fortress to the [SPOILER], tossing them some loot as thanks for their hard work. They get through just in the nick of time (sans Hazelrae, who has been sent on another interdimensional adventure), ending up at the [SPOILER] of the recently defeated enemy, much nearer to home. Some of the enemy's servants are there, but wounded, dispirited, and now disappointed that the Heroines can't get them back to their master's stronghold since they are trapped by invaders from the depths. (Serves them right for taking over a [SPOILER] for their lair.)

Since the former enemies are willing to repent, and maybe convert to worship of the Crystal Dragon, the Heroines take them with as they fight through the slimy and multi-[SPOILER] problems from the depths. It is enough of a struggle that they understand why the former servants weren't willing to face it, but they are the Heroines of Red Larch!

Sadly, it turns out that those problems were fleeing something even worse, and the Heroines see no alternative but to surrender to decadent but heavily armed [SPOILER]. However, it is not much after that when another problem shows up, and if only Hazelrae can reappear, perhaps they will be able to make their escape and resume saving the world!


Signup for Big Bad Con is almost fully open, so I filled up my remaining slots with random stuff.


No one could stand to wait another week to see end of Nirvana in Fire, so we all gathered back at Monkeycat Mountain. Who cares that we have to work tomorrow?

  • Nirvana in Fire 53-54: Earl opined that it could have ended after the Climactic Conversation, but I think the denoument was important.

Words: 142.

Weekly total: 1526.

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22 September 2018 - Saturday


  • Sailor Moon S 34: Well, that's not going to help Mugen Academy's graduation rates.
  • Nirvana in Fire 51-52: Finally, the climactic confrontation that has been building for more than fifty episodes! But we have to wait until tomorrow to find out what happens, because we could not watch four episodes in one night.

Words: 106. Good thing I haven't increased my quota from 100!

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21 September 2018 - Friday

Ken heard my complaints about how inconvenient it was to travel to his place to play Gloomhaven until late in the night, so he honestly tried to arrange things better, but then Brooks was an hour late so I was up until a million o'clock again. I didn't completely fail at playing a board game, though. At this rate, my character might have his (its?) first perk by the time Dave's character has his fourth!


Exo (Fonda Lee) is unusual for dystopian YA SF in that it has a male protagonist, who is an up-and-coming jackbooted enforcer police officer for the aliens who have conquered Earth as part of their internal strife. Naturally he doesn't think of the world as dystopian, but there is the underground resistance and conflicted family ties and a cute resistance fighter and a lot of doom.


Words: 167.

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20 September 2018 - Thursday

Marith is still sick, but on the mend, and also bored stiff of hiding in her bioexclusion zone recuperating, so we watched Wreck-It Ralph. It was pretty cute, although I think I missed a lot because I did not really play video games in the 80s.


So really what I'm trying to do is take all the D&D out of Dungeon World, but there's a lot of it. When I first saw the iconic DW move, defy danger, I was pretty dubious about a move that didn't have a fixed stat to roll, and when I learned a bit more about PbtA games, I was dubious about a move for overcoming random environmental hazards, but it does work well with the D&D-style stats, because it's the "make a skill check"/"save for less damage" move. The closest equivalent in Apocalypse World is act under fire, which is always rolled with +cool because it isn't about whether you can do the thing — if you couldn't, you wouldn't even be rolling — but whether you will fuck it up by freezing or panicking. To me, one of these questions seems better for an RPG and the other better for a tactical wargame, but then it's 2018 and people still want to play D&D, so what the hell do I know?

Talking about AW always requires cussing.


Words: 262.

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19 September 2018 - Wednesday

The plague has passed, so it's time for 13th Age and Thai food!

Maybe jumping on the orcs with pikes was not a great idea, but they totally deserved to be dismembered and kicked into the bottomless pit.


Apocalypse Power is anti-generic, but recently I've been thinking about converting both regular 13th Age and 13th Age Glorantha, and last year I was thinking about weirder fantasy, so maybe a core set of stats, basic moves, and other common elements for fantasy would not be an abomination.

As far as stats, for 13G I was looking at Fierce, Wary, Stubborn, Charming, Thinky, and Touched (last three names not final). A year ago, for WFDW, I had Aggression, Focus, Tenacity, Intelligence, Awareness, Charisma, which is pretty close, but doesn't have a single stat for magic stuff. (Focus would cover anything like concentration or visualizing the runes, but any of Tenacity, Intelligance, Awareness, or Charisma could apply to stuff that falls under "magic".) I think I'm leaning toward the newer ones because they're more personality and less ability, but I might want to kick out Touched in favor of something else and have magic distributed across multiple stats.

Ugh, game design is hard. Or maybe I'm just stupid.


Words: 184.

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18 September 2018 - Tuesday

Marith has been taken over by a swarm of microbes. It is very sad.


The Book of Ages for 13th Age is a supplement for fleshing out the history of the 1st through 12th Ages. This pre-release PDF is still in the "see page XX" and "<<layout element>>" stage, but otherwise seems both complete and workable. Each player gets a faction (explicitly not the same as an icon), maybe the GM gets some, each faction gets some events (overall high point, overall low point, crossover, etc) and independently assigns them by die roll to the range of Ages. Then, starting from the earliest Age with events, everyone goes through the Ages in order and the GM takes the roll of a chronicler asking experts leading questions about what happened to the various factions in that age. ("I heard your faction's greatest stronghold of the 4th Age was here, but now there's just a big crater. What happened?") There are lists of leading questions for GMs who can't think of any, and a pile of premade Ages for those points in the calendar where no one has any events. (The premade Ages come with not just icons, but also sample monsters, spells/powers/talents, and magic items.)

My interest in 13th Age is somewhat revived, but the system still bugs me, so now I'm thinking about what it would take to add Apocalypse Power to 13th Age and still be distinctively 13A. One Unique Things are absolutely fine, they aren't supposed to give you any powers, just be something that is fictionally true about your character. There are no skills in DW, so backgrounds are not relevant. Classes are mostly the same, because D&D.

DW has alignment, which 13A doesn't, and has both fewer and less significant races, but switching to drives and backgrounds and making race just a descriptor should cover both of those.

Magic items in DW are to magic items in 13A as magic items in 13A are to magic items in D&D3, which is probably fine.

Icon relationship dice are the trickiest because they are so metafictional. "Bag of books" and "adventuring gear" in DW have a little of that nature, but they are sufficiently constrained by the fiction ("You had what in your backpack? Get real.") that it's not an issue. Icon relationship benefits, at least at our table and possibly everywhere based on what I see on the Internets, are completely open-ended within the vague theme of the Icon. Contacts? Gear? Secret knowledge? Highly-specialized magical powers? It's all possible, and there's not even the minor downside of taking up inventory space. Of course this could be shoehorned into DW as-is, but that's like saying you can type any letters in any order: you can do it, but that doesn't mean the result will be aesthetically pleasing or even legible.


Words: 157. No TV, but apparently too much Love Nikki.

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17 September 2018 - Monday

Things I managed to do today:

Things I did not do:

  • Get sick even though my flatmate is full of germs
  • Watch TV
  • Any significant amount of work

Words: 508.

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16 September 2018 - Sunday

I managed to do a little bit of shopping, but that was about it.


Netflix had Lilo & Stitch, which they hadn't last time we looked, so we watched it. There was more alien hijinx than I remembered. Later, tumblr told us about the final fate of Pudge the fish.


AW has moves like seize or hold by force, which is much more interesting than DW's hack and slash. But, I thought, if the PCs are trying to seize something by force, who makes the roll? And then I had the important insight that AW PCs are all major characters in the same story, but they are not a team, and are at least sometimes antagonistic to each other. (It's not like this is a secret, just read the examples, but I hadn't realized the significance until now.) In AW, a move can be the whole plan, or at least a big chunk of it, but in DW, a move has to be just one person's part of the plan, which is a much smaller part of the action.

I think there's probably still some room to raise the level of moves for Glorantha, but maybe not very much, and it might be more trouble than it's worth. I mean, "kill them to death" is a perfectly valid goal for many fights in Glorantha (like broos).


Words: 223.

Weekly total: 1582.

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15 September 2018 - Saturday

Why, oh why, does Apple not just display a time stamp with every text? It can do it for literally every other event that happens on a phone, but not texts? Gaaaaaah.


Boo for not setting an alarm! Hurray for turkey chili!

  • Sailor Moon S 32-33: You can tell we're getting close to the end of the season by the way Witches N is decrementing faster and faster.
  • Laid-Back Camp 10: I expected Rin to go with the "we're not camping together, I'm just camping in the site next to yours at the same campground", but no.
  • My Hero Academia 40-41: No, in fact you cannot take these kids anywhere without supervillains attacking. Also my brain hurts because in my WiP, "pussycat" is a racial slur against catgirls.
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.6: Those two are just about the cutest ever. Also Dark Flame Master is remarkably non-horrible for a teenaged guy in anime. Maybe he can give Mineta some tips on not deserving death.

Words: 215.

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14 September 2018 - Friday

Coworker M, who is in NC (but well inland) reports he is doing okay. Whew!


  • The Good Place 23-26: Wow, excitement and bonding and smooches and jurisprudence and reboot! That's the end of season 2, I wonder what season 3 will bring?

Words: 183.

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13 September 2018 - Thursday

Giant bug robot!


  • The Good Place 22: Wow, teamwork!

Marith cooked food again! It was entirely like dinner, although we both agreed it could have used more alliums.


I was actually wrong about the Ernalda priestess's favors of the earth. It has only at-wills and dailies, but it's random which ones you get to use, so still annoying.

Anwyay, the basic equation is, impress the priestess with your mightiness and she'll give you some mojo. This is very different from the usual D&D formula, so that's good. But how does it translate into DW?

Details of a die roll don't matter, the trigger has to be something like "bring me the head of the goblin chief", or something equally significant if not as murdery ("bring me the regalia of the heretical temple"). Can we rely on the player to choose reasonable things, and not "bring me that rock"? Probably not, but I'm not sure how to word the requirements.

In 13G, the favor gets awarded to the next person to do the thing, but there are multiple favors per battle, so theoretically the mojo couldn't be hogged by one person. DW has shorter battles, which could lead to more competition, which is probably Orlanthi (warriors, not soldiers), but do we as players want that? But on the other hand, DW doesn't have an initiative clock to show who was first if multiple acts ("bring me a goblin head") could trigger the favor, so maybe that's okay?


Giving other people mojo is also not a big DW thing, but healing is fine, and +1 forward is also a thing. It could even be +damage or +armor forward, if we want to get really crazy.


Words: 328. Probably because we only watched one episode of The Good Place tonight.

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12 September 2018 - Wednesday

The thing that didn't work yesterday works today, for no reason. The Random Tech Support Excuse Generator says, "someone changed DNS". I figure it has at least a 0% chance of being correct.


13th Age is cancelled, Jus has the Regurgitations and no one wants to risk getting those. Except me, because I don't care about common or garden germs, but I don't want to be out playing Gloomhaven until a million o'clock on a work night, so all fun is still cancelled.

Instead I watched TV with Marith.

  • The Good Place 19: This is one of the other episodes that was nominated for a Hugo. Poor Chidi.
  • The Good Place 20-21: I am glad Janet's subplot is getting continued. I like Janet.

I could use runes for PbtA Glorantha stats, actually, since the Orlanthi have a reasonably small set of runes they are associated with (Air, Movement, Man (because human), Earth (from Ernalda), Harmony (likewise), Life (because not undead)), but I think then non-Orlanthi playbooks would have to have different runes and probably different moves, which sounds like a lot of work.

Moving on to classes, the Earth Priestess in 13G has three main schticks: at-will summoning of one Earth spirit/elemental to fight for her, occasional spellcasting (a couple of dailies), and favors of the earth: she announces that the next one of her allies to do X gets buff/healing Y, where X is some combat thing like score a crit or reduce an enemy to 0 HP, and Y is one of a list of buffs/heals with varying recharge. (I've already ranted about the long lists of powers with limited recharge.) I like favors of the earth, but DW doesn't really do buffs, that's what aid another is for, and healing is not that exciting, so I'm not sure how to translate it. (Sure, I could invent a bunch of buffs, +1d4 damage forward and whatnot, but I don't think that would really be appropriate for DW.) It also doesn't have critical hits or other fiddly little mechanics things to hand the rewards on. Bah.

The Trickster is also a problem. Their powers are a dozen variants on doing something stupid and ineffectual to give an ally a bonus or let an ally escape harm, and I don't think I can build an entire class around a single basic move. I don't say no one can, but I'm pretty sure I don't get the Trickster, probably because I have no sense of humor.


Words: 131.

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11 September 2018 - Tuesday

I spent like four hours on the line with a customer whose thing was not working after he took it apart and put it back together (with software, it's harder to see whether there are pieces left over; you have to look under the sofa), and did not even get it working, although we did get past many intermediate errors on our way to the day's final error.


I did a date with Avalon, but we were both lethargic, so it was not that sparkling.

Marith made fried rice with chicken marinated in soy sauce and honey, which is probably more advanced cooking than has ever happened in this apartment.


I thought about renaming the stats for PbtA Glorantha for the kinds of people who exemplify them, Fierce/Wary/Stubborn/Charming/Thinky/Touched -> Warrior/Scout/Farmer/Chief/Sage/Priest, but that seems like it could lead to confusion with the class names. I also, of course, thought about naming them for runes, but that would definitely be confusing when runes come up in some other mechanical context (even though I don't yet know what context that would be), and also it seems wrong to use just a subset of the 20-odd runes that apply at a human scale. Maybe verbs are good? Attack/Spot/Endure/Lead/Know/... See (as in seer)? Transcend? Perhaps I can't come up with a verb that covers everything lumped fuzzily into that one stat because it really needs to be some other number of stats. But even though magic is common and not necessarily well-delineated from other parts of Gloranthan life, it feels wrong to just say that social skills work the same on spirits as they do on people. Magic needs to be at least slightly numinous and uncanny, right? Or at least magician and face should be different character types.

If I'm using active verbs, maybe I should look at Blades in the Dark-type actions? There are more of them than stats, so using runes could be a possibility. But BitD is a much more constrained game, so a set of essentially twelve basic moves works okay there where it would probably not in a more wide-open game, so probably not. (Also I like specialized moves.)

Bah.


Words: 336.

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10 September 2018 - Monday

Yuck, Monday.


A new playbook for DW should have at least three starting moves (not counting race/alignment/background/drive), but I've only been able to come up with that many for a couple of the simplest Glorantha playbooks.

The Storm Bull berserker:

You start with these three moves:
Sense Chaos: Add to the list of questions for discern realities, "Is Chaos manifest here?"
Berserker: When you roll 10+ on hack & slash, you must take the option to do more damage.
Smash It!: <cut and past from the Fighter's Bend Bars, Lift Gates>

The Humakti:

You start with these three moves:
Deathbringer: When using your personal blessed sword, your damage die is d10 instead of d8.
Death is Near: When you reduce someone to 0 HP, they are just dead. They don't get to make the take a mortal wound move, they can't be healed, they're just dead. The same goes for you when you drop to 0 HP.
Bond of Truth: When you parley, your oath as a Humakti counts as concrete assurance, because they know what happens if you break it.

But at least one move for each is a passive two-edged sword, so this probably isn't enough, and that's not even considering advancement moves (although I'm using AW-style advancements, so +1 to primary stat, +1 to either secondary stat, or +1 to any stat are all valid entries, which cuts down on that a little). Maybe I don't know enough Glorantha lore, or maybe it just matters that I know there is Glorantha lore to be known. ("Draw Maps, Leave Blanks" doesn't really work for Glorantha, when legions hundreds? of fans have spent fifty years filling in all the blanks. But that's only a principle, a technique for following the Agenda ("Portray a Fantastic World", "Fill The Character's Lives With Adventure", "Play to Find Out What Happens"), so I don't think DW is completely undone by this. I might be wrong.)


Words: 166.

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9 September 2018 - Sunday

After a month without, we have PAD&D5 again!

Having struck some kind of deal with their enemy [SPOILER], who turns out to not be as invested in the villainous plan as some others, the Heroines of Red Larch travel to [SPOILER], where they encounter a steampunk space hamster (named Bruce) and some assorted locals (also named Bruce, except for Stephanie) who introduce themselves as a recon squad of the resistance against the local depradations of one of the Heroines' enemies from the Red Larch area. The Heroines are immediately drafted into the resistance, because they have a magic item associated with the enemy that they picked up a while back (when Rimardo stared down a [SPOILER]). Of course they are up for that!

After a quick ambush to get the pursuers off their tail and avoid giving away the location of the Redoubt, the Heroines arrive and are introduced to the leader of the space hamster resistance, their old frenemy (and possible admirer of Lam), [SPOILER]. They are just in time for the massive assault on the villain's headquarters by the entire resistance, because it has go forward immediately now that the Heroines have brought the [SPOILER] back into the region.

While the mass combat plays out across the surface of the airless mesa, the Heroines and [SPOILER] assault the main fortress, only to meet the Big Bad and his two hulking minions (one with shoulder-mounted brother of [SPOILER]) out front. Akrá has the implement of boss-slaying, so they're the designated boss-slayer, while everyone else tries to distract and flank and harry. Surprisingly, it works (it helps that Rimardo can still banish one of the minions), or at least [SPOILER] gets beat down enough that [SPOILER]'s mom can appear and crush the Big Bad. Overwhelming victory!

After the victory party, the Heroines will finally get to return to [SPOILER]!


Marith made raviolis more tasty by breading and pan-frying them, which seemed like a lot of work. Good results, though!

  • The Good Place 16-18: Wow, Michael is really not very competent if he can be outsmarted, even a fraction of a percent of the time, by Jason.

In Under the Pendulum Sun (Jeannette Ng), Victorian missionaries try to take Anglicanism (which is of course synonymous with Civilization) to Fairyland. This goes about exactly as well as you would expect.

Also the author is probably an escaped Love Nikki character.


Words: 124.

Weekly total: 1297. I suck.

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8 September 2018 - Saturday

I wanted to play Masks with Carl at Big Bad Con so I can learn how to suck less at the Apocalypse, but that meant being home at 12:00 on the dot to click the "Sign Me Up" button as soon as it appeared, so my daily routine was all thrown off and I didn't get to the grocery store until things were selling out.

I did sign up for Masks vs Parental Expectations, though!


  • Laid-Back Camp 9: Oh no, germs!
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 2.1-2: After the 10-episode flashback, time seems to be moving ahead faster, but I'm not sure just how fast. Rakugo is definitely in dire straits, though.
  • My Hero Academia 39: A recap episode and a pool episode are both mandatory, so they're just being efficient. Also not much fanservice.
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.5: Finally, Kumin gets to shine!

Words: 218.

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7 September 2018 - Friday

Everyone, go get your flu shot! Protect the kids of antivaxxers so they can grow up to become sensible people!


I went over to Ken and Dave's to play Gloomhaven again, to give it a fairer try. I failed miserably by running out of cards, but we did win the second scenario on normal mode, even if we didn't get the chest that was probably full of clues.

I would be up for playing more, but if we don't even start until past 20:00, then I don't get home until a million o'clock because someone moved further away to make gaming less convenient.


Words: 118.

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6 September 2018 - Thursday

Hey, I caught up from Worldcon!


A couple of good parodies of yesterday's NYT kerfuffle (both from We Hunted The Mammoth): McSweeney's, and Slate.


Marith is now all caught up on Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju.


Ah, it was the finale of the first season of The Good Place that was up for a Hugo this year (and an episode from second season which we haven't seen yet). I was spoiled for the big reveal, but how it played out was still good. I like how the consequences are being played out in the first part of the second season, too. Go Eleanor!


The Dreaming Stars (Tim Pratt) is the sequel to The Wrong Stars, which brings the alien menace somewhat more on-screen and thereby diminishes it. But people still don't escape unscathed in body or mind, so that's good. (Except for them.)

Rebecca Roanhorse won the Campbell award for Best New Writer, and seemed awesome, so I picked up Trail of Lightning and it was pretty good, a combination of post-apocalytic with Navajo mythology (which I know a tiny bit of from growing up in New Mexico, but is not something I have seen much of in books since perhaps Eye of Cat). The main character is definitely a badass monster killer, perfectly capable of dealing with mythological annoyances, and so very unprepared to have a hot guy foisted on her.


Words: 144.

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5 September 2018 - Wednesday

Once again, it is time for 13th Age and CPK (which we would probably normally spurn, but there's some kind of fundraiser thing for Jus and Nonny's school). We managed to avoid all the fights this time, although we did get dropped into a pit by an enraged earth elemental, and pinned most of the evils of the world on Mike's character. A good evening's work!


Words: 168.

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4 September 2018 - Tuesday

Hurray, Avalon is alive! And spent the weekend productively, unlike me.


Words: 219.

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3 September 2018 - Monday

I did not do anything useful today. I did not even join a union.


Instead of watching Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju like we were supposed to, Marith and I watched more of The Good Place. Well. That was terrifying in a different way than I expected, but I am glad Eleanor was paying attention during class. Also, I am surprised by Janet's subplot.


Chococat made me lie down and snuggle him, and while I was down there, I read Weird Little Games vol 1, which is pretty much what it says on the tin. Want to be an Azumanga Daioh girl with the serial numbers filed off? Want to be a member of the US Presidential Line of Succession (Extended Remix) in a mecha? Want to be the soul at risk in a Chick Tract? Ewen Cluney has you covered.


Words: 306.

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2 September 2018 - Sunday

After being super-useless all day (I even took a nap!), I went over the in evening to play Gloomhaven with Ken, because he is super-excited about it. I feel like a bad friend for not appreciating it enough, but despite the flavor text, it's just a tactical combat boardgame, and one with a core mechanic that is designed to produce frustration (you start out with good cards, and have to slowly discard them, never getting new ones). Also, I played it when I was hungry and grouchy, so I wasn't as happy about being a weird little ghoul-rat with brain powers as I could have been.


So how do I make 13G more palatable? Add some Apocalypse Power, of course!

Dungeon World is good for a base, but the D&D stats (both in the sense of Strength and Dexterity being stats, and of having a vestigial 3-18 value) must go. New stats: Fierce, Wary, Stubborn, Charming, Thinky, Touched (names not final, okay!), on the usual PbTA -1 to +3 scale. Also levels should go away, advancements and advanced advancements are fine. Hit points and damage dice can stay, no need to revert to the harm clock.

Most of the DW basic moves are fine, tweaked for the new stats. Ditch Final Breath for Take a Mortal Wound (unconscious but stable/unconscious and dying/dead), add one for coming back from the dead. I don't think we need specific moves for general battle magic, that's just the excuse for why a PC has like three times the hit points and twice the average damage of an NPC with similar job description. Maybe make magical healing a basic move, as in 13G, since healing magic isn't as restricted as in D&D.

What are the playbooks? One per cult is obvious, but I don't think that's right. 13G has like four classes based on Orlanth, which is legit because Orlanth is both the primary god so has a portfolio that includes a lot of stuff and is the god of rampaging around going out and getting things done, which covers all kinds of adventuring. I am dubious about troll PCs, so we can leave those classes out for now, but that still leaves Orlanthi warrior, Humakti murderhobo, Storm Bull berserker, Orlanthi rebel, Orlanthi storm sorcerer, Ernalda summoner priestess, Eurmal asshole, and Ernalda/Yelm shield-based martial artist. I'd also like to see Lhankor Mhy sword sage, Babeester Gor avenging daughter, Yinkin hunter, maybe Issaries messenger? That's twelve, which seems like a lot, but probably a reasonable start? Okay, really the reasonable start would be to write a paragraph about each and then only create moves for the ones that people want to play (which is none of them, because people only play D&D).


Words: 114.

Weekly total: 1348. Meh.

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1 September 2018 - Saturday

Marith very kindly woke up well in advance of work to make sure I was not sleeping through my doctor appointment. She is a hero of the revolution.

Having my ear vacuumed was quick and produced a great bounty of cerumen, but it was like an action movie where the edge of the cliff is crumbling away in different-sized chunks, only happening inside my ear canal.


  • Sailor Moon S 31: Down to Witches 3!
  • Laid-Back Camp 8: But ghost stories are an essential part of Japanese camping!
  • My Hero Academia 37-38: Victory: the protagonist!
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.4: I can't argue with Dekomori's logic: if reading the holy texts causes someone to writhe in pain, they must be a bad person.

Jade City (Fonda Lee) is the first book of a secondary-world wuxia gangster epic set on the one island in the world that produces the jade that gives people of the local ethnicity wire-fu powers. Conflict ensues. Despite being secondary-world, it's at a mid-C20 level of civilization: banks, cars, landline phones, military-industrial complexes. Family intrigue, family expectations, combat-drug addiction, white people trying to exploit the local resources, all the usual gangster stuff.


Words: 280.

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31 August 2018 - Friday

Because my ear doesn't work, if I sleep on the wrong side, I can't hear my alarm. This is bad.


Three more episodes of The Good Place. Michael seems to be showing character growth, but I don't trust it. Also, I am personally offended by the Bad Place people, even though they have a train.


Heroine's Journey (Sarah Kuhn) is the third book in the series, the one the author read the beginning of at Worldcon. It is from the PoV of yet another member of the superhero team/found family, the former annoying-little-sister who is now all grown up, really. Like the other characters, she is pretty messed up, because how can you even write about humans who aren't? But these romances are way too straight.

The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist (SL Huang) is the queer reversed "Little Mermaid" that the author read from at Worldcon. It has all the important bits, including complete doom.


Words: 217.

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30 August 2018 - Thursday

I skipped work in the morning to go to urgent care and have a very nice nurse irrigate my ear, but it remained barren of sounds. I will have to go back on Saturday for a specialist, because I am just that defective.


Troika is a super-minimal RPG, old-school but not OD&D-based. It has like two stats, and a mandatory roll on d66 for a character background that sets skills (and spells). Pretty much the whole setting (such as it is) is encoded in the backgrounds, for example, 14 Cacogen You are Those Filthy Born, spawned in the hump-backed sky lit only by great black anti-suns and false light. Your mother was sailing on the golden barges or caught in some more abstract fate when she passed you, far from the protective malaise of the million spheres. You were open to the power and the glory at a generative time and it shows in your teratoid form. or 16 Claviger The key masters wander the universe fathoming the workings of all entry ways they can find. Though they're quite fascinated with simple chests and doors, they are most excited by metaphysical and metaphorical barriers. You might find small conclaves of clavigers camped around the feet of demon gates, debating appropriate methods of attack or building obscure machines of entry. Seems cool, and I'm not even sure I'd have to convert it to PbtA.


The Good Place 4-6: Now we know what's up with [SPOILER], but the characters don't seem to be addressing the obvious question that raises. Once again, divide and conquer is the MO of the overclass. (Not that the overclass is coming off as all that superior, extra dimensions aside.)


I've been slowly reading through 13th Age Glorantha, but although I like many of the ideas, I'm not sure I like it as a game. Even more than standard 13th Age, it relies on a profusion of small, slightly useful, special case rules that only come up once in a while. A good example is the standard bonus for a rune gift in the healing category: it gives you an extra recovery, but you can't just increase your max recoveries by 1 and carry on, because this recovery is Special and has different rules than all other recoveries, so you have to track it separetely and decide, every time you heal with a recovery, whether this is the right time to use it. And everything is like that: rune gifts (the equivalent to magic items) and class abilities are almost all "daily" or "recharge" abilities, meaning you get to use them once or an unpredictable but small number of times every few sessions (a month or more of player time) and have to keep track of their availability and decide which one to use at every opportunity. Class abilities (spells, etc) at least give you some amount of bang in exchange for the cognitive load, but rune gifts are just large enough that you'll suffer if you try to blow off the system.

I expect that Dave, Mike, and Ken will all love this, because it's very board-game like and they like finding the synergies among ten million different rules, but the idea feels me with a deep lack of interest in jumping through those hoops. Or playing D&D at all, really. It's 2018, FFS!


Words: 110. I blame capitalism television.

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29 August 2018 - Wednesday

My ear seems to have stopped working. I tried both water and over-the-counter stuff, but no dice. Unless it spontaneously clears up overnight, I guess I will have to go to the doctor tomorrow. Like an old defective person who is falling apart.


No 13th Age, Ken is something.

Marith shared her raviolis with me. She is a good flatmate.


Words: 226.

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28 August 2018 - Tuesday

Heroine Worship (Sarah Kuhn) isn't the book the author read from at Worldcon, but comes between that one and the one I read. It's from the PoV of the person the protagonist of the first book felt steamrollered by, because of course she has her own emotional burdens to bear. Also there's a plot, or something, that's not really the point of the book.


Words: 181.

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27 August 2018 - Monday

No date tonight, Avalon's brain is exploding. 8(


Words: 220.

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26 August 2018 - Sunday

No PAD&D5 today, Jeremy has been afflicted with humans at work or something.

I don't think I accomplished anything at all today. Because I pretty much suck.


Words: 253.

Weekly total: 1408.

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25 August 2018 - Saturday

A routine Saturday. Well, alternate Saturday, since we had cleaners.


  • Sailor Moon S 30: Well, that's not ominous at all.
  • Laid-Back Camp 7: Ghost stories are important!
  • My Hero Academia 36: Of course we had to cliffhanger before Deku's exam.
  • Love, Chuunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.3: The Boop episode!

Words: 248.

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24 August 2018 - Friday

Yay, Avalon is still alive!


Snotgirl vol 1 (Bryan Lee O'Malley, Leslie Hung) is about a fashion blogger in LA who is kind of a terrible person, but probably all you need to know to decide whether to read it is that it's by the Scott Pilgrim guy, but is mimetic rather than magical realism.


Words: 150.

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23 August 2018 - Thursday

I don't seem to have any brain at all this week.


Marith and I watched the first three episodes of The Good Place, because two episodes (of a later season) were up for Hugos. Now she has Theories.


Sworn to the Night and Detonation Boulevard (Craig Schaefer) are the first two of a trilogy that seems to be tying together the author's two related urban fantasy/horror series and one secondary-world series. I'm here for lesbian antihero romance struggling against doom from before history and also rich assholes getting destroyed, but the interdimensional fantasy stuff doesn't seem to fit very well with the horror stuff, even though it's pretty dark fantasy.


Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword (Henry Lien) is about as adorable as the title. It is about girl power and figure-skating-style martial arts and political intrigue.


Words: 169.

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22 August 2018 - Wednesday

We had everyone for 13th Age, so we finished the sword-smithing fight and ate Wuhan food.


Cool, my 13th Age Glorantha are here! This makes it more likely that we will play 13G after Eyes of the Stone Thief wraps up.


Words: 165.

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21 August 2018 - Tuesday

Boss K is in town, and made me and coworkers S and T go to dinner because talking work at work is not enough. No one knew where to go, so I guided them to Taiwan. They weren't overtly repulsed, and I got to walk home conveniently, so I guess it worked out okay.

Coworker S's new Tesla 3 is pretty spiffy, but seems to have some software issues.


Words: 142.

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20 August 2018 - Monday

There was a little more Worldcon programming today, but I needed a day to be passively useless and do things like grocery shopping and laundry and drinking too much Diet Dr Pepper.

Marith, who went to anime on Saturday instead of abandoning most of her friends, got me all caught up on My Hero Academia.

  • My Hero Academia 33-35: Beginning of the finals! Froppy and Cool Bird Boy are still best! Sticky Head Bulbs is still the worst, and should get fed to a supervillain! All Might is surprisingly scary when he's not being cheesy!

The Harbors of the Sun (Martha Wells) ties up the plot that started in Edge of Worlds, while opening room for many more. I mean, surely no one will be upset by [SPOILER], right?


Words: 281. Of course, now I have to write something that takes everything I may have learned at Worldcon into account, so I'm still doomed, but being around other people who were talking and thinking about writing has improved morale.

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19 August 2018 - Sunday

Fourth day of Worldcon!

  • Macro to Micro: Worldbuilding Workshop with NK Jemisin was more geography-building, on spherical planets, and then deriving culture from that, with audience input, so I was not that interested, even though possibly I should have been, and bailed out halfway through.
  • The conclusion from We Dressed Those Girls: Subverting Tropes or Reinforcing the Status Quo? was that subverting tropes is hard, and claiming that acknowledging the tropes constitutes subverting them and people who don't understand are the Real Sexists™ does not count.
  • Body Language - How to Improve Your Awareness and Use It in Fiction had a cartoonist as well as some writers, so that was an interesting additional perspective. Anyway, body language is a huge deal, people don't even know they're reading it, everyone should definitely include it in their dialogue all the time. Watching humans is good for learning how humans do body language.
  • All the panelists who made it to How Hollywood Gets It Wrong were doctors, so it was very medically focused, but "every way possible" probably holds for most other fields. Useful takeways for oppressing characters: everything takes longer to heal than they show on TV, and the best place for a disabling but nonfatal wound is the thigh, to the outside of the femur.
  • YA vs Adult Fiction: Defining Boundaries was mostly panelists who have written both, so there was a lot of talk about what they thought the differences were vs what their agents thought the differences were, and how most of the dividing criteria are flexible anyway because writing, man. It would have been better without the white guy on the panel talking over people though.
  • Reading: Kat Tanaka Okopnik was only okay. I think her work is not entirely to my taste, which is fine. (I think Cat liked it more.) She is down with social justice, which is good enough for me.
  • I think all the panelists for Disability in the Future were disabled, so it was definitely a better perspective than might have been found in the past, and I think they were right that there will always be disabilities of some kind ("Sorry, ma'am, your neural architecture is just not compatible with the ISO cyberware standards."). But it felt like they were most interested in what was coming out nowish alleviate their particular ailments, and less in how those ailments could be eliminated altogether. (Some of them said that they wouldn't want their disability to be gone, because having it made them the person they are today.) I understand this, but I think it made the panel not as future-oriented as would have been interesting to me. Maybe we do need to be not terrible about disabilities now before we can have a good discussion about the future, but that wasn't the stated goal of the panel. I dunno, I'm relatively able-bodied, I probably don't get a say here.
  • Earl and Cat escaped before dinner, so I had to go eat very unhealthy things all by myself. Sniff!
  • I tried to go to another Mary Crowell concert, but it was mysteriously cancelled in favor of a scary old lady telling people what to filk.
  • And finally, the Hugos! Unlike the masquerade, the results are already known, and the MC was Efficient, so we got through the entire slate in about two hours. Lots of women, some PoC, no obvious Nazis (suck it, Sad Puppies!). Rebecca Roanhorse, who is black and indigenous, got both the Campell and a Hugo, NK Jemisin got her third Hugo in a row for the third book in her recent trilogy, which everyone agrees was well deserved, Murderbot got a Hugo, Bujold got another Hugo, all was good. Hurray!

THE END!


Words: FAIL.

Weekly total: 545, but that's with four days off for Worldcon. Without that, I would have broken 1000 for sure! Probably!

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18 August 2018 - Saturday

Worldcon continues!

  • Research Rabbit Holes was pretty entertaining. Ann Leckie knows of the Tiffany Problem!
  • The Richard Kadrey reading failed because the author bailed via twitter, but new author I'd never heard of, Henry Lien, had props and music for reading from his book about girl power and figure-skater style kung fu. Hey, look, there's wireless in here, I can instantly!
  • Why Pluto Was Kicked Out of The Planet Club and What We are Learning About It Today was more basic than I hoped for, but on the other hand, glaciers of solid nitrogen!
  • I wandered around until I found pho to eat for lunch. It was good, but messy.
  • Alien Minds: What is Possible and What Can We Do with Them? had most of the same panelists as yesterday's panel on alien life. The focus was on communication, which some panelists thought would have to be feasible in some fashion, but others thought would be impossible, since humans can barely communicate with each other. No conclusion was reached, which probably shows something.
  • Reading: Campbell Finalists was Rebecca Roanhorse (part of a short urban fantasy story about a deer woman and murder), Sarah Kuhn (the beginning of the third book in her series about Asian-American superheroines in San Francisco, which was funny enough to make me get the second and third books even though I was only so-so on the first one), and Jeannette Ng, who is probably an escaped Love Nikki character (the beginning of Under the Pendulum Sun, in which British missionaries travel to a marvelously surreal fairyland, which is bound to go well).
  • The Body and the Shadow of the Imagination did not convince me that describing characters is unnecessary, but I can't argue that a telling detail is worth any number of listed features. (I probably knew that, but it never hurts to be reminded.)
  • The Literary Beer with Linda Nagata was held not in the convention center but at a nearby bar, which meant it was terrible, because bars suck. I bailed after just a few minutes.
  • This time we went to the Indian place right next to the Malaysian place for dinner. Mmm, naan.
  • Saturday Evening Concert: Alexander James Adams and the Canticles was okay, but not as good as I remember Heather Alexander concerts being. Is that because the performer has changed, or because the audience has changed?
  • The Masquerade was okay, but I am not a costume geek. The winner was clearly "Alien Queen", which broke the MC for extra bonus points.

    Words: FAIL.

worldcon readings by marithlizard (Mon Aug 27 02:11:29 2018)

Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword sounds pretty adorable!

Peasprout Chen by Trip (Thu Aug 30 13:31:29 2018)

It is a pretty adorable book. And I guess other people thought so, since there is a sequel coming out at some point.

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17 August 2018 - Friday

More Worldcon!

  • Young Adult: Looking at the World Through a Skewed Lens at least helped me understand what the vital characteristics of YA fiction (to extent that any rules in writing are vital): fast-paced, immediate (first-person or deep third), young protagonist. I wonder how making things fast-paced works?
  • Pronouns Matter - Gender Courtesy for Fans was mostly stuff I know, but had some insights I had not previously considered. For example, in some cases you may have to misgender someone for their own safety (relatedly, do not ask people in Omaha for their prounouns), and the neutral forms of aunt/uncle and neice/nephew might be nuncle and nibling. Ann Lecki was on the panel, but she did not build a Dyson sphere while we watched.
  • Because it has the same name as the company I work for, and also is right next to the convention center, I went to Arcadia for lunch. It wasn't that great, so I should tell the CEO we need to destroy them as unworthy of the name.
  • Signup for kaffeeklatsches was a fiasco, but there was no way I would have made it into the Ann Leckie one anyway. I went to the one for SB Divya on Earl's recommendation, though I have not read any of her work. She seems cool, and is a Techer, so we hung around after the kaffeeklatsch and she and Earl talked like smart people.
  • Ethical Responsibilities to Alien Life was mostly about simple life, because that is what most people expect to find in the next few decades. There was general agreement that we should not stomp all over anything we find, although taking samples for scientific or business purposes was not ruled out.
  • Playing For a Better World: Social Activism in Games was mostly about video games, because kids these days. However, one of the panelists is doing a FATE sourcebook for how to play disabled characters, so that's something.
  • Erin Mittmann is young and bright, there's no way she should be going to the same panels as me, but she was in like four of the panels I went to today. I think she must be defective.
  • I bought a few things in the dealers' room, for people. The books are all still very papery, though, and although there are some board games, there is strangely no RPG stuff (okay, one small box of Pathfinder, that's like no RPG stuff).
  • Earl, Cat, and I picked IPOH Garden Malaysian off the con's restaurant guide. It was pretty good! Malaysian food is similar to Thai, but different.
  • In Reading: Hugo Finalist BookSmugglers Kate Elliot read a short story from I guess one of her series? I don't know, she's not an author I follow; SL Huang read part of a super-queer reversed "Little Mermaid" story but did not finish so we have to go find the story; and Foz Meadows read from a WiP that she describes as "big gay hockey idiots in space with aliens". We didn't get to the aliens, but the rest of it is spot on, and hilarious.
  • Music of Past, Present and Future! featured some Spider Robinson performing songs he wrote for his wife of many, many years (now recently deceased), which was touching, and then a random old filk guy, so we left after that. (Last time I was at Worldcon, I would not have found his songs problematic, so I guess I am more work now? Ridiculous as that seems.)

Words: FAIL.

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16 August 2018 - Thursday

Now, it is time for Worldcon 76! Because I had the good sense to move to San Jose, it was only a short bus ride to get there, not an international plane flight, and I arrived well before the registration rush. Go me!

Perhaps I will present this in the form of bulleted list. Bang!

  • The dealers' room had many many books, but they were all very papery, and many many jewelries, but I am not adornable. Still, they were interesting to look at, and perhaps I will buy some of them.
  • For no reason I can discern, there was a large picture of Chrisber, Tamago, and their offspring in the costume exhibit area. I mean, they were in costume, but I lack the skill to tell whether their costume was truly that amazing, and there was no explanatory plaque.
  • Across the Gender Spectrum did not tell me much I did not already know, but it was nice to see people being of good will.
  • Beyond Yaoi: Trends in LGBTQ+ Representation in Anime & Manga also was not super-novel, but they did talk about Utena and Yuri!! On Ice and conclude that things are getting better.
  • Hey, look, Earl and Cat are at this con too! (This was not a surprise.)
  • I didn't succeed in paying full attention to Chinese SF/F and its Fandom because I had a schedule to work out, but it sounds like fandom in China is booming, partially because SF is the Literature of the Future, and China is all about the future. (Fantasy and the supernatural, maybe not so much.) They can even get nationally important people to show up at their cons!
  • Mary Crowell was pretty filktastic. She has a song about dump stats.
  • Ozu Sushi gave us food. I had tofu udon, which was a little messy but otherwise nice.
  • Mirror's Revenge billed itself as a sequel to Snow White. It was, um. Well, it was clearly the director's labor of love.
  • I could probably have gotten home using light rail, but Earl and Cat gave me a ride.

Words: FAIL.

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15 August 2018 - Wednesday

Mexican food and 13th Age (although it turns out that La Vic has terrible nachos)!

The orcs were all defeated, and we got into the next room mostly still alive, only to find that this was where the swords waiting to have our names engraved on them were being kept. If we survive, though, we can write the names of people we don't like on the swords!


How To Treat Magical Beasts vol 1 (Kaziya) definitely has a "magic and knowledge are antithetical" position, but it's not as annoying as I expected.


Words: 219. But they are all about how I am very stupid and cannot write at all. I mean, I could work on a different project, but those are all stupid and horrible too. Maybe more horrible, because I am pretty sure guys should not write smut (except Chuck Tingle, and then maybe only titles). How did I manage to write a whole novel that wasn't NaNoWriMo and so had some kind of a plot, even if not a very coherent one? Maybe my brain was not so old and decrepit. I certainly didn't have any kind of outline or even an ending, although I did have a goal for near the end and an excuse to just keep throwing in more monster girls (hey, I was ahead of my time!). It was a very simple plot, not worthy of a novel, maybe not even of a novella, but I did at least know one place it was going, which is perhaps what I need now. Except I need to be better, and have character development, not just plot progression, I really really really really don't want to do outlining, because it will make me want to not write the story (it's already complete!), but maybe it's what I have to do. But I don't want to kill the story! Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhh.

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14 August 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 171, about how I can't write and should die in a pit.

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13 August 2018 - Monday

Edge of Worlds (Martha Wells) continues the adventures of the shapeshifting dragon people who just want to live in their giant tree but keep getting mugged by adventures from the distant past. Once again they are haring all over the Three Worlds trying to keep untold doom from befalling their people. This time: ocean! And doom. And cliffhanger!


Words: 155. Glaaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh. None of this is working. I've tried rewriting this from the beginning about a million times, or at least half a dozen, but it never works. I started writing this because I read Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain and thought inadvertant middle-school supervillains was a great idea to mix with the Mythos-based supers setting I was already thinking about, but apparently I don't have an actual story. I have characters (the protagonist with her mutatedness and sneaky superpower, the best friend with her lack of modesty and terrible secret that I've never gotten far enough to reveal, the supervillain with a built-in dungeon, even some male characters although I'm not really sure what the point is), I have backstory (the Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad date with Peter Stonebreaker, Slink and Mina Tauros's grudge), I have setting (the city built near the ruins of Columbus OH after aliens bombarded it), but it's not adding up into a story that goes anywhere. Glaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh.

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12 August 2018 - Sunday

This week, we have everyone for PAD&D5!

Although they barely escaped with their lives, and are now majority slug-mutants, the Heroines of Red Larch must go back in to retrieve the quest object so that they can continue on their way to retrieve the other quest object so they can get help getting back where they belong. Despite their foes having gotten more slimy, scaly, and generally loathsome reinforcements, things go much better this time (especially when Rimardo puts up a damage shield and lets the enemy berserkers all have a shot at him). The enemy leader wriggles away, but the Heroines recover everything that was stolen as well as the quest item and return triumphantly up the quest stack to Walter (who has extra tentacles of suspicion but eventually accepts that the Heroines have not been suborned).

Now they can continue with the quest to retrieve [SPOILER] for [SPOILER], which they do in the most ham-handed heroic way. Although Akrá is swallowed by a giant lobster, for the most part the slimy, scaly, loathsome (yet different) opposition is no match for the Heroines, and they make off with [SPOILER] (reified as a giant pearl).

Alas, victory is not yet in sight, as it turns out [SPOILER] was their enemy [SPOILER] all along! [SPOILER] is apparently not committed to the great conflict, though, having found out too much about their place in the planned endgame, so a deal is struck. Surely there will be no betrayal later.

To no one's surprise, the Heroines' way home is in another castle [SPOILER].

Next session in 4 weeks, it looks like. :(


My flatmate has not died of cat dander (yet), so we watched some more Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Today: Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Words: 122.

Weekly total: 1696. Better than last week, I guess?

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11 August 2018 - Saturday

I have finally finished Paradise Residence (Kosuke Fujishima), which is only three volumes long (unlike Oh! My Goddess). It is cute and all, but not that interesting.


  • Sailor Moon S 26-27: Haruka, people might listen to you more if you ever stopped to explain things instead of just giving orders.
  • Nirvana in Fire 48-50: Everything is spiraling inwards as more people find out more things that had previously been secret (whether or not they believe them), and there are only four episodes left for the horrifying collision.

Words: 176. Ugh, up so late.

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10 August 2018 - Friday

Yay, it's Friday.


Words: 284.

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9 August 2018 - Thursday

Words: 233.

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8 August 2018 - Wednesday

No 13th Age, too many people are sick or busy.


Look, Avalon is still alive! She texted me!


The third "Murderbot" story, Rogue Protocol (Martha Wells) is out! Murderbot is still adorable, and other people are still not quite as hellish as it believes. It looks like the plot will actually come back around to the beginning in the next story.

Then I had to go back and reread All Systems Red and Artificial Condition, because Murderbot is adorable.


Words: 220.

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7 August 2018 - Tuesday

I skipped out early from work and dashed home, because Avalon is not dead! But she was afflicted with many irritating humans who sapped her will to live. I'm glad that's over!

We tried watching Netflix together, which worked pretty well. Dark Tourism is morbid and probably exploitational in some fashion, but perfect for a death lord, and at least the guy seems properly appalled by what he finds.


Bridging Infinity (ed Jonathan Strahan) is an anthology with the themes of engineering and sensawunda. The world being what it is, the near-future stories are mostly about terraforming Earth, but there are ones about various sorts of large-scale engineering (Dyson spheres, sun drills, etc). None of the stories was horrible, but none of them grabbed me really strongly.


Words: 377.

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6 August 2018 - Monday

Blaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhh.


Children of Time is by Adrian Tchaikovsky, so it is not surprising that one of the two intersecting plots is very chitinous. The other is full of doom, so it's good when they bounce off each other, but mostly I like the chitinous one better. It has biology.


Words: 284.

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5 August 2018 - Sunday

HAPPY HAPPY RACHELDAY (observed)!!

Instead of being in Rachel and Jeremy's house like previous years, the party was at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles (which Rachel is on the board of). It was much the same party, only more conveniently located for me and with more space. Also there was some art on the walls, but the current exhibit was mostly kind of meh. That's fine, there were people to talk to there. (There were also people to look at, I think I'll die in a pit.)

After hanging out for a while, I went home watched a little Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Marith.


Words: 124.

Weekly total: 1403. Not as bad as last week, anyway.

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4 August 2018 - Saturday

  • Steven Universe 5.25: Just what it says on the tin, but does anything good ever come of going there?
  • Sailor Moon S 25: I hope Jus isn't learning to stalk celebraties from watching the Mimet episodes.
  • Laid-Back Camp 6: Secret lake camping!
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.2: My comment on the the previous episode turns out to be what this episode is all about! So adorable!
  • My Hero Academia 31: Superhero battles have consequences?!
  • My Hero Academia 32: Yay, almost a whole episode of Froppy!

Words: 169.

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3 August 2018 - Friday

Words: 287.

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2 August 2018 - Thursday

Marith was home at a compatible hour, so we watched episodes 5-7 of B99. That was pretty entertaining.


Dreadful Company (Vivian Shaw) is the second "Greta Helsing" book. This time, our unwillingly intrepid monster doctor takes a vacation in Paris, which turns out to be full of unregulated vampirism and other supernatural issues for her to get mixed up in. Like the previous book, this one is... humane? Sometimes violence is called for, after wrongdoers have failed to knock it off, but it's not portrayed as anything other than awful and terrifying, and many of the problems arise from people not being taken care of emotionally. The protagonists don't want glory, or to save the world (unless it really needs saving, but even then, there are probably people whose job that actually is), they want friends and home and lives. I guess the genre is emotionally realistic urban fantasy.


Words: 215.

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1 August 2018 - Wednesday

For once, we started 13th Age before 20:30, because Ken ate his Indian food expediently and also Kelsey was not excessively late! We are back in the Stone Thief, finally, and a Koru behemoth is coming to frolic on it. Sadly, our way to the lower (less frolicked-upon) levels is being blocked by a giant lake of lava and flaming bile. Also orcs. I hate those guys. (Really, it's on my character sheet!)


Words: 163. Ugh. So late. So tired. So bad at writing.

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31 July 2018 - Tuesday

Since the Internet has been all abuzz about it for ages, I gave money to Amazon for the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Marith and I watched the first four episodes. It was pretty entertaining, and I even didn't want to strangle Jake all the time after a few episodes. (Also I see why the Internet has a crush on Diaz.) But I still feel faintly dirty for watching cop-humanizing propaganda.


The Expert System's Brother (Adrian Tchaikovsky) is kind of a retro story, of humans living in a strange environment and behaving strangely and how they got to be that way, but with a slightly more modern sensibility.

On the other hand, The Descent of Monsters (JY Yang) is kind of cracktastic. It follows on from The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune, with more Asian fantasy intrigue and no explanation of the weird things going on. That's a lot of doom, though.


Words: 260. No, this is all terrible. Even in the character's voice, infodumps are still infodumps. I should die in this pit now.

Words: FAIL.

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30 July 2018 - Monday

Words: 185. I still don't know what to write. I've tried starting this at a million different points, but none of them seem right. Maybe it's because I don't have a plot, and writing without knowing where you're going only works the first time. Or maybe I'm just stupid and can't write. Yah, that seems pretty likely.

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29 July 2018 - Sunday

No Deirdre, but we had everyone else for PAD&D5.

Having escaped [SPOILER] at the end of last session, the Heroines of Red Larch find themselves in yet another labyrinth (without Hazelrae, who is borrowed by a passing vatch), but a helpful surf [SPOILER] directs them to the sort of hive of commerce they had been hoping to find at their last stop. Hurray! An extended shopping sequence ensues, at the end of which the Heroines have exchanged hundredweights of gold for several exciting magic items (Lam has her shield of missile attraction!) and a conveyance to get to where they hear they could get home if they can deal with... Walter. They also have discovered a [SPOILER] in need of saving from an arranged marriage, who tempts the Heroines with knowledge of a better way home, if only they can retrieve [SPOILER] for her. The reward is enough for the sidequest!

Before they get anywhere useful, their craft is attacked by Walter, a [SPOILER] of extraordinary magnitude, who demands another side quest. At least he hangs on to the [SPOILER] as a hostage, so it's only an item retrieval quest, not an escort quest.

Unfortunately, the creepy ruins turn out to be inhabited by [SPOILER]s, which can take people out of the fight with one bad roll (our speciality!), and also [SPOILER], so although by the numbers it should have been quite doable, the Heroines are ignominiously crushed, stripped of their water-breathing items, and left to drown. Naturally they escape to their vessel to plot revenge, but that escape seemed awfully easy. Something is up!


I still don't know what I think about having another person in my apartment, but at least instead of staring blankly into empty space tumblr all evening, we got Marith caught up on MHA.


Words: 152.

Weakest total ever: 1177.

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28 July 2018 - Saturday

No Marith for anime, she is dead from work. Jus is very distraught, and also Marith is missing marshmallow toasting.

  • Sailor Moon S 24: Outer Senshi, stop being such snobs!
  • My Hero Academia 29: In case we forgot this is a shonen show: two-episode-long fight scene! But, superheroes. And it's not like the fight scenes aren't where the character development happens.
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 2.1: They say they're dating, but...

Words: 104. I had to trundle home at a million o'clock at night and also I don't know what to write because everything is stupid and maybe I should have stuck with what I had before.

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27 July 2018 - Friday

Black Helicopters (Caitlín Kiernan) follows from Agents of Dreamland, I think, or at least one or more characters seem the same. It is pretty hallucinatory, and mocks your notions of linear time and personal identity, for obvious reasons.


Words: 124. I don't know how to write. I don't know what to write. I spent most of my writing time reading through stuff I wrote before, and, well, it's mostly spelled correctly. That's about the best I can say for it. Maybe I should die in a pit.

(Okay, it's not quite that bad. Reading a page often makes me want to read the next page, but reading something I wrote is such a different experience from reading something someone else wrote that I don't know whether it means anything.)

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26 July 2018 - Thursday

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Becky Chambers) has even less derring-do than the previous books in the series. It's slice-of-lives set in the Exodus Fleet, which we had heard about in the previous books but not seen. The Fleet isn't fully-automated (increasing automation is one of the social problems they have to deal with, in fact), and it's the opposite of luxury, but it's definitely queer space capitalism. People still definitely have problems (many related to being young), but it's an interesting egalitarian and sustainable society.


Words: 148.

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25 July 2018 - Wednesday

No one complained about the Thai food I got for 13th Age, so yay me.

This session, we managed to finish the rest of the fight from last week, without getting exploded or losing what we came to steal, and met up with an undead white dragon the size of a castle, who got someone to give us a ride to where we now know the Devourer is rampaging. If we ever got to start gaming before 20:30, maybe we'd be able to finish this campaign!


Reading things that are not by middle-class, middle-aged white guys is always good, so once Prime Day (and presumably the Spanish strike, although it's hard to tell from English-language sites) was over, I picked up Nnedi Okorafor's "Binti" series (Binti, Binti: Home, and Binti: The Night Masquerade). I liked them, but I'm really not sure what genre they're in. They are ostensibly SF, but more like fantasy in terms of individual power. But at least they don't explain things! (The distinction between genres is probably a colonialist construct anyway, and I'm not being entirely facetious there.) Seeing a different perspective on family, war, higher education, and alien technology was definitely worthwhile, even though humans don't necessarily come off well.


Words: 165.

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24 July 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 239. What do I write?!

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23 July 2018 - Monday

Earl described Medusa Uploaded (Emily Devenport) as "generation-ship Gothic" and that seems pretty accurate, although the main character is the thing that comes in the night for depraved aristocrats, rather than an aristocrat herself. But it's dark and lonely and everything is layers of secrets, not just about what people are doing but about the entire context of everything. Tentacles are definitely involved.


Words: 245. I need something interesting to happen!

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22 July 2018 - Sunday

Marith somehow missed ever seeing Mulan, but Netflix was willing to show it to us. Hm. Well, it was twenty years ago, people were not as woke. But it would better if it were more like Nirvana in Fire.


I think Competence (Gail Carriger) finishes off the "Custard Protocol" series. At least, all the major characters are paired off, except the one who's not that into it. I guess there was some plot stuff, too, but really it was all about the werelion romance.


Words: 251.

Weekly total: 2473. Not too bad, considering I don't know what to write next.

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21 July 2018 - Saturday

Being more organized and less stupid about shopping works better, surprisingly.


Instead of the usual Chinese food, I had four flavors of diet Dr Pepper (and also a chicken sandwich) and 80s music to go with my pad games.


Nirvana in Fire was so much fun last week that we decided to do it again this week! But first we had to eat many tasty foods and let Jus watch anime.

  • Sailor Moon S 22-23: Yay Hotaru! Oh, and some plot stuff. And Mimete, who Jus likes the most.
  • Nirvana in Fire 46: There's the hook for Nirvana in Fire II: Historic Boogaloo!
  • Nirvana in Fire 47: Awww! But now many people know the Awful Truth, and more suspect it. The last seven episodes should be very exciting.

Volume 3 of Astra (Kenta Shinohara) is the beach episode, but does finally get back to the mysterious mystery and ends on a cliffhanger. (I understand the market demands long manga, but I think there could be more cliffhangers.)


Words: 241.

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20 July 2018 - Friday

Yay, I avoided the work picnic. Now all my coworkers hate me. But at least I'm not sunburned.


For lack of anything less productive to do, Marith and I watched episodes 4-7 of Galavant. It is very silly. Also, Galavant is a terrible judge of character.


Words: 442.

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19 July 2018 - Thursday

In The Blood (Nancy A Collins), sequel to Sunglasses After Dark, is just as 80s and just as violent. Also, thinly-disguised Winchester Mystery House. There are two more books in this collection, but I'm not going to bother to read them now. Maybe later. Maybe not.


Words: 438.

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18 July 2018 - Wednesday

I think we've forgotten how to play 13th Age, or maybe everyone was just too cranky (despite the ample supply of pizza). It is not the game where we should be spending an hour and a half arguing about plans. We barely managed to finish the E1 round, after lying our way in until we got spotted and then charging resulted in a big fight.


A commenter on WHTM recommended Sunglasses After Dark (Nancy A Collins), and I vaguely remember Earl having read it approximately 1000 years ago, so I snarfed the series from Amazon (this was before the Spanish strike). Much 80s. Very angst. Wow.


Words: 128.

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17 July 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 652.

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16 July 2018 - Monday

Deep Roots (Ruthanna Emrys) gets several indescribable appendages up. Once again, Aphra talks to sophonts, and somehow does not die. (There is not much fighting, although there is plenty of danger.) We get to see more advanced sorcery, more of Audrey's family, more exotic sophonts that are not as malevolent as Lovecraft might lead one to believe, and Deep One smooches.

But then I was out of Emrys, so I read Agents of Dreamland (Caitlín Kiernan), which is much shorter and more doomed Cthulhu Mythos, in which everyone is much less sympathetic and there is more mycology. Bad mycology.


Words: 321.

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15 July 2018 - Sunday

PAD&D5 again?! Madness!

After a sky-sailing montage, the Heroines of Red Larch get dropped off at [SPOILER], where they hope to find a way back home. However, everything is shut down due to impending weather, so all they can do is try to get an audience with the local ruler, who promptly imprisons them all for having a descriptor in common with his ex. (Because what's the point of being an absolute monarch if you can't take out your personal frustrations on random travelers?)

After being locked up together for a subjective eternity, the Heroines are freed on the word of someone they helped before, who turns out to be a minor personage locally. However, the closest thing to a way home on offer is being kicked out of the city and left to hike to [SPOILER]. That obviously beats staying locked up together for any more time at all, so the Heroines set out just as enemy forces assault the [SPOILER]. Although the attackers are related to an enemy of theirs, the conflict is not on a scale they can affect, and the locals were rude to them, so they break through the enemy lines and make good their escape.

The invaders pursue the Heroines into the trackless [SPOILER], but are soon left behind, at the minor cost of getting completely lost. Selûne's power guides them to where they need to go, though, and despite the hostile wildlife, manage to get through into [SPOILER], where they can probably survive for as much as several hours while they look for a way home.


Words: 191.

Madness by Jeremy (Sat Jul 21 14:16:04 2018)

Madness? THIS IS PALO ALTO!!!!!

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14 July 2018 - Saturday

We may have too much stuff in our apartment, but at least we have cleaners!


Earl and Cat (who has a fabulous new dress) made the trek down from Palo Alto, but first, there was Steven Universe!

  • Steven Universe 5.23: Awwwwwww! (Also, cartoons have levelled up!)
  • Steven Universe 5.24: That is exactly the mode of combat I expected. But now there is another cliffhanger! Arrgh!

Jus was so good about not spoiling us!

  • Nirvana in Fire 43: This is the episode in which people stay behind to cover other people's escapes!
  • Nirvana in Fire 44: This is the episode in which armies clash! (Sadly, none of their armor seems to do anything. I think they bought from the same arms dealer that supplies Storm Troopers.)
  • Nirvana in Fire 45: This is the episode in which the awesome princess shows up again! Also, Sir Su explains trolling, and the beast of Jiu An Mountain.

Something about the art, or maybe just the cover art, made me hope that Monster Tamer Girls (Mujirushi Shimazaki) would be awesome like Alien Nine, but no such luck.


The Kickstart has completed, so the Champions Now alpha release (Ron Edwards) is available for backers to playtest. Lacking a group to play with, though, all I can do is read it.

Mechanically, it is very similar to Champions 3e (incidentally, PDFs of Champions 3e are part of the Kickstarter rewards). PD and ED are combined, SPD is not figured and only goes up to 8, and the table-based powers (Telepathy, Mind Control) are probably different, but all the clunky bits (VPPs, 11-DCV+OCV, phases, 1+adv/1-lim) are still there. It's definitely less changed than OSR is from OD&D, but that's probably because even that long ago, Champions was more of a system and more polished than OD&D.

I'm not saying I don't want to play it, but so far I'm not seeing a lot of value added over republishing Champions 3e with a book of GMing instructions. (This probably means I'm doing it wrong, which is fair, since I've pretty much always done Champions wrong.)


Words: 181.

Weekly total: 2785.

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13 July 2018 - Friday

Friday the 13th, an excellent day for rereading books about heroic Deep Ones! (Deep Roots (Ruthanna Emrys) is out, but I could not remember who all the characters named in the first chapter were, so I reread Winter Tide. It is still awesome and I should probably be recommending it to more people.


Oh no! Someone else has figured out that Friday is the best night to do laundry! Now it is not the best night to do laundry! Well, except possibly all the others are still worse.


Words: 422.

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12 July 2018 - Thursday

I never could get the hang of Thursdays? Nah, it's a pretty unexceptional day.


Words: 280.

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11 July 2018 - Wednesday

No 13th Age, Ken has audits. We could possibly have gathered to do something else, but no one made a concrete proposal.

Instead, I admired how I gained a flatmate while I was at work! The balcony is now full of boxes, which all need to be processed before the damp weather starts, but Marith has mostly moved in! I hope she will not die from cats.

We watched the first two episodes of Galavant, which was very silly. "It's 1256, these 'your mom' jokes are getting pretty old."


Words: 397.

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10 July 2018 - Tuesday

I had to work from home to let the cleaners in to decontaminate Marith's space so she can move in tomorrow, and that threw me off completely so I didn't accomplish anything else today.


Gate Crashers (Patrick S Tomlinson) is in many ways a standard first-contact, humans must step up their game to deal with the aliens, military SF book, only mixed with Douglas Adams. It works pretty well, because the aliens don't need to be taken entirely seriously.

In The House of Aryaman, A Lonely Signal Burns (Elizabeth Bear) is a mid-future police procedural, in a non-white, ecologically-aware, somewhat biopunk future. With brightly-colored talking cats, so I'm down with it! It reminds me a bit of the nearer-future Stross I've read, only wilder.


Words: 314. Concentrating doesn't help when you don't know what to write next.

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9 July 2018 - Monday

Now that planking is done, we have moved to sun salutations for wellness exercise at work. It is much less strenuous.


Words: 550.

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8 July 2018 - Sunday

Finally, after untold ages (or at least 7 weeks), we have PAD&D5 again!

After wrapping up the seige of [SPOILER], the Heroines of Red Larch head to [SPOILER], which they believe to also be under attack. It is, and has already fallen, its people taken captive and most of the buildings burned. The Heroines try to infiltrate and pick off the outer forces, which goes well until they discover it is all... a trap! The enemy, tired of their interference, has prepared a ritual to banish them to [SPOILER]! With last-minute interference from their allies, they manage to avoid being cast into whatever horrible fate has been prepared for them, but at the expense of being sent off course into [SPOILER]. Fortunately, after plummeting for a while, they encounter a pirate battle and join the side with fewer tentacles (in accordance with the Crystal Dragon's gospel). Having made friends, they then undertake a quest that the pirates are not high enough level for, which involves trouncing a [SPOILER] and returning loaded down with loot. Next, to the place where they might be able to find a way back home, because the Dessarin Valley still needs saving!


Words: 641. It's almost like multitasking doesn't work.

Weekly total: 1437, but I didn't have space or equipment or peace to write in Roseville.

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7 July 2018 - Saturday

Yesterday I had mostly to myself, so today I was able to face people again.


  • Steven Universe 5.19-22: Hurray Ruby and Sapphire! And Amethyst!
  • My Hero Academia 26: Choosing names was pretty adorable. Go Froppy! Bakugo needs serious counseling, though.
  • My Hero Academia 27-28: I hadn't thought of it like that, but UA is really a vocational school. Also, terrifying old master is an important part of any show about learning to fight.

Words: 119.

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6 July 2018 - Friday

Because Dave did not go back with Ken, the car was full of kids and people who keep kids from exploding instead of riling them up and I had to ride the train home. All by myself. With nothing but an electrical outlet and WiFi. The horror. The horror.

When I got home, all of my cats were still alive, so Marith must have done a good job taking care of them!


On the train (besides playing way too much Empires & Puzzles), I finished Starless (Jacqueline Carey), which is something almost unimaginable in the modern world: a world-saving fantasy epic complete in one volume. Also, [SPOILER] protagonist. It's a pretty good setup for fantasy adventure: the stars are gods, but they've all been cast down to earth, where they physically inhabit their individual islands, inevitably shaping both the environment and the local culture according to their divine natures. I may have to steal it.


Words: 263.

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5 July 2018 - Thursday

HAPPY HAPPY JOSH-DAY!!

During the day, we went to the fabled Taylor's, so that Ayse could get a Dr Pepper freeze, which she certified as being completely 90s-tastic. But then, eventually (fourteen people, four of them kids, nothing moves quickly) we went to Josh's birthday sushi, and then, after disposing of the kids, played Cities and Knights of Catan until it was too late and we had to declare Josh the victor.

But we did not have Ken for any of this, because he had to go back to San Jose and work like capitalism. (Dave thought he was going to have to work, but decided not to.)


Words: FAIL.

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4 July 2018 - Wednesday

After the usual indolence, we managed to play Caverna (a descendent of the Agricola clade, I think). Even though it involves dwarves and digging and getting food from the outside world, it is not actually Dwarf Fortress: The Board Game, but a low-randomness worker placement game. I went heavily into rubies and sheep, which somehow got me second place. Alas, I did not have enough sheep to justify building the Cuddle Cave, which holds one sheep per dwarf. (Maybe if I had successfully bred extra dwarves earlier...) Then there was grilling and fireworks, because GFY Donald Trump King George Day.

The usual fireworks have been discontinued due to I don't even know what, so we had to drive to a nearby town to get Jus her yearly does of explosions, and it was quite an experience. Apparently it was too small of a town to have anyone responsible for safety, because the launchers were pretty much right at the edge of the park full of onlookers, and a fine rain of ash punctuated with larger bits of debris fell on us throughout the show. But fireworks are amazing from that range.


Words: FAIL.

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3 July 2018 - Tuesday

Ayse and Dave took Jus and Nonny up to Roseville in the afternoon, but Ken and I were burdened with capitalism and had to go up separately in the evening. We had ramen while waiting for traffic to calm down, and Alice Isn't Dead 2.9-3.2 on the way up, so it wasn't all bad!


Words: FAIL.

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2 July 2018 - Monday

Monday is Monday, but at least tomorrow is virtual Friday!


Words: 414.

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1 July 2018 - Sunday

Since I was protesting putting kids in concentration camps yesterday, I had to go grocery shopping today, and then work on putting things in places. I haven't completely moved over to the new bedroom and bathroom, but I'm much closer. I just need to throw away a bunch of stuff.


Words: 280.

Weak total: 1475.

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30 June 2018 - Saturday

Although my lack of organization was remarkable, I did make it to the San Jose Families Belong Together rally. Because what the fuck, Republicans? Didn't we have a war just a couple of generations ago about how concentration camps are not okay?

The most engaging speaker was a Catholic priest, which I feel very conflicted about, but at least his sky fairy is telling him to be on the right side of this particular question.


Ken has a new grill, so he can grill in a manly way. Except he's from California, so actually we had skewers marinated in a variety of tasty substances, and became quite round.


  • Sailor Moon S 21: Finally, the Talismans are revealed!
  • Laid-Back Camp 5: Parallel camping FTW.
  • ACCA 12: I could have sworn there were 13 episodes in this series! Well, whatever, The End. Also, Jean's secret revealed.
  • My Hero Academia 25: End of the sports festival! I really don't see how Bakugo hasn't died of the apoplexy already.

Words: 137.

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29 June 2018 - Friday

Yay, it's Friday! Boo, my brain is very small!


Words: 210.

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28 June 2018 - Thursday

I haven't moved everything from the master bedroom to my new room, but I have moved enough that I could finally move the bed. With bookshelves on two walls and a queen-sized futon in the middle, there's just barely enough room to walk on both sides, so it would definitely not have worked for Marith's bioexclusion zone.

So many things to move, blugh.


My agreement with the tastes of the top web fiction voters is not great, but The Wandering Inn has been high on the charts for a while, so I gave it a try, and kind of like it even though it is LitRPG. The first main character, after getting inexplicably transported to MMORPGland, ends up getting levels in the Innkeeper class and trying to make friends with people through the power of food. She still has to fight, because it's kind of a terrible world, but maintains an inclusive anti-murder stance that the local murderhobos just don't understand. (Later there is another main character, who is also confusing and weird to the locals, if less charming.)

I just started book 2, which looks like it will have more about the overarching plot that brings Earth humans to the LitRPG setting.


Words: 187.

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27 June 2018 - Wednesday

Kelsey and Brooks were both unavailable, so instead of 13th Age, we had Burnt Rice (which is better than the name) and Erin and Terraformed Mars. Er, we didn't eat Erin, she was just there to play board games. Ken won, but I wasn't dead last, and if I had gotten my cards from turns 6-8 on turns 1-3, I might have it to the middle of the pack.


Words: 163. Eight turns of TM is a longer evening than I hoped.

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26 June 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 267.

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25 June 2018 - Monday

I did not do a very good job of moving stuff. Or, really anything else today. But I did pet a cat or two.


Words: 231.

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24 June 2018 - Sunday

Marith has an official move-out date for her current apartment, so I guess I better work harder on getting the master suite cleared out for a bioexclusion zone.


Despite having many bookcases to move and such, I spent all afternoon at the water park with Jus and Nonny and their parents. This time, I came close to using enough sunscreen, which is definitely progress. Also, I became very very soggy. The chlorine and sunlight made my eyes pretty unhappy by the end of the expedition, though. Maybe I need to get prescription tinted goggles? Or just prescription goggles and a waterproof hat.


Avalon is not dead, although she still works way too much. I definitely blame capitalism.


Words: 364.

Weekly total: 1936.

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23 June 2018 - Saturday

  • Sailor Moon S 19-20: Secret identities revealed!
  • Laid-Back Camp 4: It's nice that the solo camper has not been forcibly added to the group. They have cell phones, they can split the party!
  • ACCA 11: I don't remember whether I thought this the first time I saw it, but I have to wonder how this all comes across to the original Japanese audience, with the Shogunate and the figurehead sacred emperor in their history.
  • My Hero Academia 23-24: And now we can see that this is going to take longer than just the 1½ seasons for Deku to achieve his full mightiness.

Words: 262.

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22 June 2018 - Friday

The planking challenge at work is going okay, I guess. We planked for 60 seconds and I didn't die after 8 reps, even though some other people did. (I wasn't at the bottom of the distribution! Go me!)


Words: 225.

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21 June 2018 - Thursday

I did not accomplish very much today, but there's no gaming Sunday so maybe I'll be more useful then? Nah, seems unlikely.


Words: 415.

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20 June 2018 - Wednesday

Kelsey is still trapped in Thesistown, but Mike is back from That Other Coast, so we gathered for 13th Age and Greek food. This session was more politics and planning, but it looks like we may finally be going to do something.


The Privilege of Peace (Tanya Huff) kind of wraps up the spinoff series. There could be more, but the major plot threads seem to be wrapped up. (Pheromones still don't work like that, though.)


Words: 139.

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19 June 2018 - Tuesday

Demon Princess Magical Chaos: The Tentacle Awakens (JJ Pavlov) is in the well-travelled Japanese-teenager-reincarnates-in-fantasy-world genre, but this time the teenager is reincarnated as a shoggoth wizard, daughter of the demon queen who is corrupting and eating the world. A strong moral compass is not a feature of this existence, but a harem of dark elf cuties apparently is.


Words: 248.

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18 June 2018 - Monday

Argh, the three bookcases will not quite fit on that side of the second bedroom, because of the stupid baseboard heater that I never use anyway! This is not tragic, because I can swap with a smaller bookcase on the other wall, but it is very annoying.

I'll still have two bookcases to find new locations for. Maybe I should take out all the small bookcases on that wall and rehome them instead? It would be easier. Also perhaps I should dispose of comics I'm probably not going to reread any time soon so I can have fewer bookcases overall.


Rescues and the Rhyssa (TS Porter) is exactly the kind of SF that Vox Day and his suckweasels want to eliminate: humans are not the dominant species, none of the ones we meet are white, few of them are cishet, even the aliens are queer, social skills are important. Not that it would make it to the Hugos, it's not very subtly written and has a lot of smut, but it is good that such SF exists.


Words: 283.

bookcases by marithlizard (Wed Jun 20 14:06:40 2018)

You can leave one or two bookcases if you want! Either way, some bookcases are going into storage, and it doesn't much matter whose. (Or we could sell/freecycle them. If I had more spoons I would try to freecycle my sofa.)

Freecycling by Jeremy (Sat Jun 23 21:46:32 2018)

I don't suppose either of you wants an enormous armoire? It's a pretty nice piece of furniture but would require careful measurements to make sure you could get it into the apartment. I watched the consignment store delivery guys get it into its current location, and I'm pretty sure there was non-Euclidean magic happening during saccades. Edie has since decided she'd like enough room in her bedroom to turn around....

Re: Freecycling by marithlizard (Sun Jun 24 15:45:10 2018)

Alas, we are both trying to get rid of furniture right now rather than add more. But thank you for the offer!

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17 June 2018 - Sunday

Still no PAD&D5. I blame capitalism.


Tabby took us all to dim sum, which was very good. I sat next to Nonny, who was adorable. Everyone was happy, except maybe my tummy. (Dim sum is not health food no matter how you look at it.)


In the afternoon, Marith and I went to see Incredibles 2. It was pretty good, but it didn't raise the bar beyond what the first one did, so it seemed less impressive by comparison. That was a pretty good mole machine, though. And was [SPOILER] trying to lesbian seduce [SPOILER]?


If Marith is to have the master suite as her sealed cat-free zone, then I need to move all my stuff into the second bedroom, which means I need to move the bookcases that go against the far wall first. There should be room for three of them, but I only got two moved (and the second one not repopulated) because I am very lazy.


Words: 100. The assholes next door were having some kind of fun that involved music and loudness right outside my computering nook. I tried yelling at them, but they couldn't hear. Maybe I should invest in a bullhorn.

Weekly total: 1430. Bah. Too many late nights, and also annoying neighbors.

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16 June 2018 - Saturday

Cleaners.


Dave's mom "Tabby" is visiting at Monkeycat Towers, which makes Jus and Nonny very happy. And probably Dave too.

Paella!

  • Sailor Moon S 18: Among all the things Usage is the worst at, "Cupid" has to be pretty high on the list.
  • Laid-Back Camp 3: See, having another person around when you camp isn't so bad!
  • My Hero Academia 21-22: The first round of one-on-one fights were all good. Poor Ochaco, though.
  • ACCA 10: Another cigarette.

Words: 118. Anime started late so I got home late, blargh. As long as I have a social schedule, I probably shouldn't increase my quota past 100.

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15 June 2018 - Friday

Words: 259.

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14 June 2018 - Thursday

The vet says Ghirardelli's horrible neck lump is not a problem, so I guess I will believe her.


It looks like Marith moving in might not be delayed as she had feared. Wum!


Words: 271.

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13 June 2018 - Wednesday

Mike is still Elsewhere, but we have everyone else this week (Kelsey perhaps only in body) so we had chaat and almost had 13th Age, but instead tried making characters for Changeling: The Lost, which is what Ken plans to run after we destroy civilization.

Making characters is hard. I am thinking of someone who was abducted by the Timothy-Leary-esque Keeper, and used for cosmic exploration via astral projection, until they realized that all the worlds they were "exploring" were actually being created by them for subjugation by the Keeper (which reminds me that I failed to see the recent Wrinkle in Time movie). I'm not sure this fits with the theme and/or paradigm, though.

I should probably give up and make a male character.


I found Revenant Gun (Yoon Ha Lee) somewhat more comprehensible than the first two books in the trilogy, possibly because my brain has already been stretched into the new shape. It is still pretty awesome and disturbing, though, full of extradimensional mathematics and extremely sketchy transhumanism and unremarked queerness. Also, a parallel to Ancillary Mercy, which is all to the good.

Night Shift is the first in what is projected to be a series, "Emily Monroe Is Not The Chosen One", about a young woman who unfortunately happens to look very much like the greatest superhero in the city and therefore must obviously be her secret ID. It does not have worldbuilding or writing that makes me want to plummet into a deep pit like Revenant Gun, but it is possibly even gayer.


Words: 111. Without Mike to make us leave at a reasonable hour, we apparently will sit around for half an hour or more after my phone tells us to stop having fun. Also all my writing sucks.

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12 June 2018 - Tuesday

I tried to order books through the local indie bookstore, but they may have been too obscure. We'll have to see what happens.


Words: 182. Apparently going to a bookstore uses up more energy than I thought, or maybe it's that The Revenant Gun (Yoon Ha Lee) came out today, so dying in a pit seems like a viable alternative to writing.

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11 June 2018 - Monday

Bah, work. Can I have Fully-Automated Luxury Queer Space Communism now?


Volume 5 of Worth the Candle (cthulhuraejepsen) is now complete. Oh the doom. But at least not reproductive doom, exactly. Now the PCs have to actually change the world, instead of just wandering around being murderhobos.


Words: 389.

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10 June 2018 - Sunday

Today, I am mega-useless! At least I did a little bit of work, but it's hard to feel that I am making the world any better by doing so.


Words: 295.

Weekly total: 2181.

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9 June 2018 - Saturday

Unlike some recent weeks, this was a perfectly ordinary Saturday for me. Jus and Nonny got to do an obstacle course, though, which apparently was super-fun.

  • Sailor Moon S 16-17: Ganbatte, Makoto!
  • Laid-Back Camp 2: New characters appear!
  • ACCA 9: None of this conspiracy based on shared lust for power or wealth! Our conspiracy is fueled by... BREAD!
  • My Hero Academia 19-20: You can tell it's proper superhero genre fight when you need to whack the mentalist first.

In volume 2 of Fire Punch (Tatsuki Fujimoto), we see that the doom of the world is not exactly what it seemed before, and also that some relics of the old world remain to keep fucking things up.


I don't actually know anything about the telenovela genre, but maybe Free Chocolate (Amber Royer) is it? Family drama, celebrity, bio-exploitative economics, incursions by alien powers, hot (and extremely sketchy) guys, .... My tiny white brain might be excessively swayed by the use of Spanish in with the future slang. Anyway, it was not quite my kind of thing, but for people whose kind of thing it is, perhaps it is their actual thing!


Words: 427.

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8 June 2018 - Friday

The medtech(?) who took my stitches out seemed to think I had healed well. I guess being bathed in sweat is good for surgical incisions? Anyway, now my cranium is symmetricish.


Words: 263.

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7 June 2018 - Thursday

Yay, Avalon is still alive! Just very busy all the time.


Only one of the stories in The Red Brain (ed ST Joshi) is explicitly in the Cthulhu Mythos, and it's not the title one, but they are all cosmic horror and morbidity and death, so that's good.


Words: 337.

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6 June 2018 - Wednesday

Voting seems to have mostly worked out, I guess? Except that at the national level, the Nazipublicans are still building up to a second Holocaust.


Mike is out of town, Kelsey is busy with her thesis, and now Brooks is busy with family stuff or something, so no 13th Age this week. Instead I went shopping and went home and died in a pit.


Finally, I have all the planets in Walkr! (Until they add some new ones.) But only about half of them are level 7, so there's plenty of walking and tapping yet to do. (My clever plan is to upgrade planets forward from the beginning using money and time, and backward from the end using energy in the lab. It could work!)


Words: 291.

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5 June 2018 - Tuesday

I voted. Hopefully it went a tiny way toward beating back the Nazipublicans, although it was mostly only primaries.


This is for Marith.


Volume 2 of Astra (Kenta Shinohara) is a little better with the characterization, and maybe with the energy budget of the alien biology. Also, additional intraparty conflict!

Fire Punch vol 1 (Tatsuki Fujimoto) is Mad-Max-ish post-apocalypse, except that instead of fighting over water in a desert, the scattered bands of depraved and murderous survivors are fighting over food and fuel in an ice age. Also, some people have superpowers (one apiece), which adds to the potential depravity.


I finally got the Star Sea set in Love Nikki! But now I need something else to work on.


Words: 216.

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4 June 2018 - Monday

Once again I have failed to do voting research until the last minute. But you'd think the Internet would be more useful for this. I should have asked Wonkette.


Words: 352.

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3 June 2018 - Sunday

Doing something useful today was obviously not going to happen, but I avoided lying around the apartment all day by going to see Deadpool 2 and Infinity War. (Avalon disrecommended Solo, so it didn't make the cut even though it is currently playing.) Unfortunately, someone seems to have turned on the summer, so I also sweated 57 million gallons.

Deadpool 2 was much like the first one in many ways, so if you liked that, you'll like this. I probably wouldn't object to what happened to Vanessa if fridging weren't a thing; really it might have been the most realistic part of the whole movie. Domino was awesome, Yukio was adorable, Juggernaut was annoying (and may return in Deadpool 3?).

I did not expect the ending of Infinity War! (So, good job not spoiling me, tumblr.) I'm pretty sure there will have to be another movie, soon, which undoes it all; I can't imagine that they'd leave the MCU in that state.

Sadly, Thanos's plan was stupid from the very beginning. With such a huge budget, you'd think the writers could have afforded some advisors. Oh well.


Words: 234.

Weekly total: 2126.

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2 June 2018 - Saturday

Nonny and Jus went to the beach today. Apparently it was very fun, so hurray!


  • Sailor Moon S 14-15: Witches 5! I'm not sure why they translate Eudial as Eugeal in this version, though.
  • ACCA 7-8: Jean's big secret is out! To the viewers, at least.
  • My Hero Academia 16-18: All Might said, "Tell the world 'I am here'", but that's clearly the same as saying, "Come and get me", even if he got through the first two trials with cleverness instead of powers. Frog-girl is still best anyway.

Words: 332.

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1 June 2018 - Friday

43% mucus, with bonus coughing.


The Cackle of Cthulhu (ed Alex Shvartsman) is an anthology of humorous Mythos stories, which are actually amusing. Sadly it did not help me revive SCOOS, because I am too dim and probably also it was a terrible idea to begin with.


Words: 280.

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31 May 2018 - Thursday

Marith does not appear to be dead. Perhaps the atmosphere cleanser worked.


Mucus levels down to about 68%.


The lab results came back, and the horrible thing removed from my head the other day is just normal horrible, not special horrible.


Words: 318.

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30 May 2018 - Wednesday

Today I am approximately 73% mucus by volume.


We had no Kelsey, but everyone else was there for 13th Age and yummy Thai food, so we did the thing. This session was more talking, although we did get to bury Brooks's character in a shallow grave and pour libations on his headstone.


Marith tried another allergy test, this time with an atmosphere cleanser for her cat-free space. We will see if she is dead tomorrow!


Smoke Eaters (Sean Grigsby) is sort of a cross between Reign of Fire and Ghostbusters. Dragons have burst up out of the ground and burned down civilization, and also there are vaguely electrical ghosts associated with them. The main character is a firefighter (the kind who puts out fires, even if they were started by dragons) who gets recruited by the elite antidragon forces. Doom ensues. Also, in this timeline, Canada is weird. Bonus points for heroic firefighters, and for a main character who is both old and married. The technology and worldbuilding are very cinematic, though, and I don't necessarily mean that in a good way.


Words: 137.

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29 May 2018 - Tuesday

Monday is extra-sad when it comes on a Tuesday, somehow.

Today I got sweaty by trundling over to the vet to buy special cat food. I hope the beasts appreciate it, although they probably don't.

Also I have a sore throat, origin unknown. Glrgh.


In Xenotech Rising (Dave Schoeder), aliens have come to Earth to do business and sell exciting alien technology, which definitely requires on-site tech support. Our main character, in true American entrepreneurial fashion, has formed a startup to provide these services in the Atlanta area, but actually seems to mostly use his knowledge of alien languages and user interfaces for thwarting plots and rescuing alien princesses. I mean, I have nothing against heroic tech support, but there's a lot of heroism for someone with a day job.


Words: 189.

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28 May 2018 - Monday

Another lazy and yet sweaty day, but at least this time I avoided a bookstore accident. Only groceries were successfully hunted.

Mostly what I did today was lie in bed and read the manga I bought yesterday. There may also have been a small amount of napping.

  • Astra (Kenta Shinohara) vol 1: Several teenagers with poor characterization try to go camping on a safe alien planet but get eaten by an unexplained glowing orb that teleports them somewhere else. Some of the alien creatures are interesting, although not workable from a physics standpoint.
  • Dead Dead Demon's Dededede Destruction (Ino Asano) vol 1: Tokyo has been invaded by flying saucers (and aliens, although we haven't seen what the aliens look like), so people could randomly be zapped at any time. Two somewhat eccentric schoolgirls attempt to liver their lives in this environment without losing their sanity.
  • Slumbering Beauty (Yumi Unita) vol 1: She's a schoolgirl who sleeps way too much. He's a spirit charged with making sure everyone goes to sleep and wakes up correctly. They fight sleep deprivation and crying babies.
  • The Promised Neverland (Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu) vol 1: Young kids at an apparently idyllic orphanage discover the horrible truth, which is horrible, and must use only their mental stats to survive (because 11-year-olds have terrible physical stats).
  • Magical Girl Site (Kentaro Sato) vol 1: Badly abused schoolgirls get magic items from a dodgy web site. And then the murders started continued.
  • Magical Girl Raising Project (Asari Endou, Marui-no): Not technically manga, but translated light novels get an honorary classification. More dark magical girls, or at least darkness in which magical girls are entrapped.

Words: 636.

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27 May 2018 - Sunday

Today I was very lazy, but then spent a lot of time walking around in the hot sun, because I am dumb. But, while failing to use public transit successfully, I did manage to visit the new indie bookstore and have a small accident. Also I bought an atmosphere cleanser which might make things better for Marith, ate fully-toxic ice cream (too rich, gah) and became extremely sweaty.


Don't Meddle With My Daughter vol 1 (Nozomu Tamaki) is two generations of superheroines vs hentai villains, and has no redeeming qualies whatsoever.


Words: 455.

Weekly total: 1738, which is a dozen gross plus ten.

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26 May 2018 - Saturday

This year again, while Ken was at KublaCon, the rest of us took the kids to Fanime to admire the cosplayers. Nonny found the con overwhelming (which is totally fair, it's a lot of loud people!) so eventually Dave had to take him over to the Tech Museum to look at things. Jus, however, has become a cosplayer, which is ideal for someone who likes attention but is shy. All she had to do was be dressed as Peridot, and people wanted to get their picture taken with her! It was the best thing ever!

Next year, perhaps we will get memberships and actually go all through the con, not just visit the nonrestricted areas.


There was no Ken and also no Marith, so Ayse and I Doordashed some delightful catfish and duck with cashews and watched some anime with Jus and Dave.

  • Sailor Moon S 12-13: Aw, we all knew Haruka was a big softy! But now it's time for Wtiches 5!
  • My Hero Academia 14-15: Setup for the sports festival arc. Whatsistoes is going to be a tough rival.

It floated to the top during the recent Great Sorting, so I reread Glitter Kiss (Adrianne Ambrose, Monica Gallagher), which is about boys suffering poetic consequences for being mean to girls. They do learn, but I would still be okay with using teenage boys for fertilizer, and I say this as a former teenage boy myself.


Words: 132.

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25 May 2018 - Friday

I went to the doctor this afternoon, and she cut open my head and pulled gross things out. Then I went home and did laundry.


Words: 258.

Meep! by marithlizard (Tue May 29 06:51:35 2018)

I hope it went okay and she did not steal any of your brains!

Meep! by Trip (Wed May 30 10:05:15 2018)

How would you tell?

deductive reasoning by marithlizard (Wed May 30 11:30:05 2018)

Well, I guess if you were suddenly confused at anime night because you forgot all the plot reveals of one of the shows, then we'd know what was being stored in the bump.

(On the plus side, you'd be able to enjoy it for the first time all over again!)

Re: deductive reasoning by Trip (Thu May 31 11:30:53 2018)

I don't know, I've always been pretty bad at keeping track of the details. I am a poor audiencer.

Re: deductive reasoning by marithlizard (Thu May 31 12:37:54 2018)

That has not been my experience in discussions!

(Also, it is probably good for the universe that not everyone lives on the planet of Hyperfocused Deconstructive Squeeing Fans with me. Some kind of 'conservation of chill' physics principle.)

Re: deductive reasoning by Trip (Thu May 31 15:45:38 2018)

But the squee is so important!

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24 May 2018 - Thursday

I finally got around to reading The Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine (T Kingfisher, who is secretly Ursula Vernon), They are a stand-alone duology, not related to anything else she's done, as far as I know, but very Ursula Vernon. Many of the scenes and characters were obviously painted in her style. Also, the main characters are a ninja accountant and a fallen paladin. They may be adorable.


Words: 215.

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23 May 2018 - Wednesday

The problem with going grocery shopping once a week is that when work randomly changes my dinner (yesterday) or lunch (today) plans at a later minute, everything is thrown into confusion! Cats and cats living together, statues weeping marinara sauce, etc.


After being out late last night, I was dubious about going to gaming, since we have neither Brooks nor Kelsey and would be reduced to Terraforming Mars, but then Mike mentioned Ethiopian food so I showed up to eat enormous quantities of injera and suck enormously at board games.


Tonight Marith tried out living in an apartment with cats but with cat-free rooms! Results to be announced tomorrow.


"The Flowers of Vashnoi" (Lois McMaster Bujold) is #barrayar #ekatarina #bugs #timeoftroubles #tragedy.


Words: 228.

experiment by marithlizard (Fri May 25 17:42:21 2018)

Results: Achoo!

Well, I didn't have a major attack, which is the thing I'm most worried about. But it was not optimal. Next step, try again with a HEPA filter and a separate set of safe-room vs outside clothes (the latter to be quarantined).

Bah, if we have such amazing toys and materials science in this timeline why can't we control our immune systems yet?

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22 May 2018 - Tuesday

Rachel recommended Strange Practice (Vivian Shaw), so I moved it up the queue. It is unquestionably urban fantasy, including mysterious deaths, multiple types of vampires and the terrifying things you find in London's Underground, but it is not action-packed. I mean, things happen, several of them violent, but mostly the characters keep their upper lips stiffened and carry on, rather than engaging in overwrought histrionics. I'm not sure I'm explaining this well, but it was definitely an interesting tone. Also, that was an extremely terrifying thing in the Underground.


Instead of being useful this evening, I hung around the office until my boss, who is in town to placate a customer, and one of my coworkers were available for a work dinner. We went to Orchard City Kitchen and ate American tapas and talked about shaping the product by advocating for customers, which is exactly as much fun as it sounds like.

Then I had to walk home because the bus was no longer running and try to write a tiny amount before dying in a pit.


Words: 169. I said it was a tiny amount!

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21 May 2018 - Monday

An Accident of Stars and A Tyranny of Queens (Foz Meadows) form one story, although there is a definite stopping place at the end of the first book. They are modern portal fantasy, where other dimensions are not populated entirely by culturally-uniform patriarchal straight white neurotypical people, even a terrible high school doesn't prepare one mentally to fight to the death against the evil usurper's goons, and sometimes people die unjustly. And let's not even go into all the fun magical initiation can be. So it is pretty awesome, if not entirely happy for the characters.


Words: 281.

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20 May 2018 - Sunday

This week's PAD&D5 session was mostly fighting, but that's okay. We like fighting, and also getting loot and XP.

While the Heroines of Red Larch are still picking up the pieces from the previous battle, Akrá receives a sending from [SPOILER] about villainous attacks all along [SPOILER]. Pausing only briefly to notify the authorities, stock up on potions, and spend hit dice, the Heroines head out to investigate!

The first information they get is the composition of the forces chasing a caravan that is trying to escape to Yartar. A fight ensues, but the bigger they are, the harder they do, indeed, fall. After the battle, Mika manages to recruit a few of the enemy grunts by being visibly more awesome than their hated former leader; perhaps they will become the temple guard of the Crystal Dragon.

After finally taking a long rest, the Heroines approach [SPOILER], which the sending specifically mentioned as being in trouble, and find a small army besieging it. There are too many for the Heroines to fight directly, but they send Hazelrae and her winged boots in to coordinate with the defenders, and then attack the enemy leaders when they begin their assault. Once again, Rimardo saves the day with banish! The leaders are defeated and, despite their protestations that it was all in the cause of a just society (where those who are naturally taller lead those who are naturally shorter, and all artisans get a fair wage), are sent packing.

However, there is no time to spend the captured payroll, too much evil needs thwarted!


We didn't walk back to the train station because timing (seriously, one train every 90 minutes?!), and then I didn't walk back from the train station because my phone was asleep and I couldn't tell Avalon when to expect me. So, I have mostly failed at generating energy for Walkr, but on the other tentacle, I think I have only one more planet to collect.


Avalon is hampered in her ability to cut toxic people out of her life. This is very unfortunate. 8(


Words: 176.

Weekly total: 1723.

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19 May 2018 - Saturday

After cleaners came and dusted the spare room, I had to do a work, which ended up taking more like three hours than the half an hour I was hoping, so the whole day was thrown off. Eh, who needs grocery shopping anyway?


Chili!

Still no Eurovision, but we caught up on Steven Universe and then watched some Nirvana in Fire (and also My Hero Academia because Marith's laundry wasn't done when Earl and Cat had to drive home.

  • SU 5.17: Aw, Lapis.
  • SU 5.18: WHAAAAAAAAAT?!
  • NiF 41-42: More and more of the awful truth is coming out, which seems fair since we're like 80% through the season now. But it's not going to do any of the characters any good, I'm pretty sure.
  • MHA 13.5: Recap of the first season.

Words: 164.

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18 May 2018 - Friday

Recursion (Marion G Harmon) does not appear to follow on from the previous book in the series, but that is because being a superhero is always confusing.

The novella Coming To You Live (Mira Grant) returns to the main characters of the original "Newsflesh" trilogy, some years later, but it doesn't have anything to do with the plot, because that's not what it's about. Can an author write fanfic of their own work? That's what this is like, fanfic about what happened to these characters after the trilogy concluded.

Stone Mad (Elizabeth Bear) is a sequel novella to Karen Memory, which apparently I don't remember very well at all. But there are cute lesbians and also a mystery, so that's good.


Words: 286.

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17 May 2018 - Thursday

Last Man Out (Elliott Kay) shows that the previous four books in the series were not just an extended series of flukes, and the main character in fact cannot go anywhere without pissing everyone off and having everything explode. But we get to see more of the alien parts of the setting. Admittedly while they're on fire, but still.


Words: 376.

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16 May 2018 - Wednesday

This week, we had Wuhan-style Chinese food to go with our 13th Age, but no Kelsey. Apparently Wuhan province is right next to Szechuan, and is famous for chili oil and fish, but Ken mostly ordered beef foods. It was pretty good, after I picked out all the death peppers.

Gaming was mostly intrigue and skullduggery, which my character is not great at, but she got to find the guy who had been stuffed into a closet while Ktangs chatted with an imposter.


The Soldier (Neal Asher) continues to doom the Polity future history with even more alien bug monsters and horrifying technology and cyborgs screwing around with civilization-ending artifacts.


Words: 183.

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15 May 2018 - Tuesday

That's it for the manga, I think. Nine boxes to be donated, still a few piles of stuff on the floor. The spare room looks much more like a room, but isn't empty yet.


Rowena's Rescue is apparently the first book by DD Webb (of The Gods are Bastards fame). It's always good when a princess rescues herself, although this isn't quite that, or at least she does it with a lot of help. On the other hand, humans always do things with a lot of help, so maybe it still counts. Anyway, I am sad the other books in this series don't seem to have ever materialized, but TGaB is better.


Words: 306.

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14 May 2018 - Monday

Converted three more boxes into two boxes for donation, and cleaned up some of the piles on the floor.


Words: 232.

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13 May 2018 - Sunday

I think the girl at the bus stop by the grocery store was secretly a Love Nikki character: thin, blue hair, miniskirt/overalls, black cap with a band of studs. Clearly a good omen!


I converted ten boxes of manga and art books into five boxes for donation and a bunch of unsightly piles all over the floor. Also I saw that tumblr is full of MASSIVE SPOILERS for Steven Universe episodes I haven't watched yet.


Words: 269.

Weekly total: 1786. Not as weak as I feared, considering how much book sorting I did. But still pretty weak.

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12 May 2018 - Saturday

Instead of my boring old Saturday routine, I spent the middle part of the day taking 16 boxes of books to Thrift Box so they can go to good homes and maybe benefit a children's hospital along the way. That's a total of 20 boxes removed from the spare room, and pretty much all the prose books, but I still have boxes and boxes of manga and art books and gaming books and I don't know if the Thrift Box even wants them (the person who could make that decision wasn't available). Physical objects are so annoying.


The only version of Eurovision that Ayse accepts was not available, but Earl and Cat were, so we watched...

  • Nirvana in Fire 38-40: It turns out being paranoid and suspicious doesn't make you harder to manipulate. Who would have guessed? But is Mei Changsu going to complete his design before he runs out of Constitution?

Words: 305.

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11 May 2018 - Friday

I went to the doctor about the weird lump on my head, and she said it can totally come right off, so I made a followup appointment.


Hurray, there's a new Murderbot book (Artificial Condition, Martha Wells) out! Hurray, Murderbot made a soaps-watching friend!

Hugging would be completely inappropriate, but I want to send Murderbot hundreds of hours of media of people being nice to each other.


The 6th book in the "Dire" series by Andrew Seiple, Dire: Hell, is pretty much what it says on the tin, or at least what naturally follows from the cliffhanger at the end of the previous book: powered-armor gadgeteer versus literal Hell and all its demons. It goes about as one might expect.


Words: 198.

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10 May 2018 - Thursday

Wow, the Canada Gooses hanging out on the creek path where I go home are fearless. I guess that's good, they'll be easier prey when civilization collapses.

Also there was a lizard sitting on the path, which seemed like a good way to get run over, so I nudged it until it scampered away. That it didn't leave until then makes me think it was sick, so probably I should keep other lizards away from my shoes in case it's catching.


I have approximately a zillion boxes of books that need to move out of the spare room by Saturday week. I managed to get the library to take four boxes that I had already staged out of the spare room, so um now there's more room for processing more boxes in the living room? This would work better if I were more organized.


Marith's glasses fell apart and she imploded, so I had to help her find the missing lens. But it all worked out in the end, and she said nice things about me on tumblr.


Death's Bright Day and Though Hell Should Bar The Way (David Drake) are the Nth and N+1th in the series about the intrepid starship captain and the murder librarian. The latter is actually from the PoV of a different character, though, which is unprecedented. Also, Barbary pirates in space.


Words: 180.

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9 May 2018 - Wednesday

Even though my arm has been feeling okay for the past few weeks, I went to my long-scheduled PT appointment today and got some exercises that I should do to keep it from hurting again. It was much more interesting than going to work.


Today, we have noodles to go with our 13th Age, and also Kelsey is back because they let her out from the thesis mines occasionally now.

This session, council hijinx, which don't devolve into violence because of the magic of Concord. Kazannethorim even talked to an orc!

Maybe I shouldn't have made a less political character.


Words: 135.

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8 May 2018 - Tuesday

Yay, it's Avalon!


Words: 388.

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7 May 2018 - Monday

The under-sink hot water heater that feeds the office sink and dishwasher exploded over the weekend. Bummer.


Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe Her (Richard Roberts) is the conclusion of Bad Penny's story, which is bad because I like reading about Penny, but good because resolution. As a book, though, it seems to fall a little short of the previous four. The action doesn't really escalate; it's a series of events that sort of happen without strongly leading into the next, and then a final battle. The characterization doesn't seem consistent, although to be fair the first-person narrator is in a very different position relative to most of the characters than in previous books. Likewise, I'm not sure Penny's attitude toward them is reasonable, but then she's under kind of a lot of stress. Also this book definitely needs proofread, which is minor but another hint that it did not get properly edited.

Not that I could do better, mind you.


Words: 311.

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6 May 2018 - Sunday

We had everyone for PAD&D5 this fortnight! Also, we were all unfocused and ridiculous, which is better than only some people being unfocused and ridiculous, and the rest being frustrated.

Having survived last sessions's Wonderland sequence, the Heroines of Red Larch can now try to interact with Yartar the way they meant to, but of course they are foiled again. A delegation from [SPOILER] has come to town to arrange a prisoner exchange, with the same kind of destruction that the Heroines have already saved Yartar from once (on two different occasions) as leverage. This perfidy cannot be allowed!

A set of unintentionally wacky hijinx ensues, but the Heroines manage to rescue [SPOILER], untangle the intrigues of [SPOILER], and finally trigger a three-way battle at the [SPOILER], which the Heroines win handily by having brought a 9th-level cleric to a sorcerer fight.

I ate way too much cheese.


Words: 204.

Weekly total: 1953.

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5 May 2018 - Saturday

  • Sailor Moon S 11: Poor Sailor V, who has to save the world instead of chasing volleyball boys!
  • Laidback Camp 1: Camping! With scenery and exposition! Jus is watching this with her mom, so it can go in the bedtime slot, probably followed by Non Non Biyori.
  • Flip Flappers 12-13: The End! The very disturbing end that leaves important questions completely unanswered, or perhaps unasks them! Really, no one expected more resolution, right?

Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have A Nemesis (Richard Roberts) is the last reread. Now I can start the final battle!


Words: 228.

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4 May 2018 - Friday

Reread Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up The Moon (Richard Roberts), the second book, in which the main character gets taken for a supervillain by an entire separate set of people.

<spoiler> Aside from telling everyone she's a supervillain, she ostentatiously uses the powers of two known inimical forces, so that when anyone else uses those powers for evil, she gets accused of being in cahoots with them. </spoiler>

Also reread Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen (Richard Roberts), but by this point supervillainy is taken for granted.

Words: 313.

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3 May 2018 - Thursday

Finally finished rereading Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain (Richard Roberts), in which some perfectly nice(ish) 8th-graders inadvertently become supervillains. Can I learn anything from this? (Okay, okay, "if I were capable of learning", whatever.)

<spoiler> They start off by stumbling into a trap laid for supervillains. They don't want the bait, the setup of the trap just annoys them, but anything a supervillain trap catches must be a supervillain, especially when they are caught on video defeating a superhero. Then an aspiring supervillain (from a family of villains) calls them out, and the same superhero and her friends fight them again, with witnesses. At that point, their fate is pretty much sealed, and established villains start inviting them to hang out, hooking them up with fences, giving them gigs, etc. </spoiler>

In summary, judgy superheroes (or other authority figures?) seem key.

Words: 487, but most of it was description so detailed as to constitute an infodump, which will have to be exploded with fire.

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2 May 2018 - Wednesday

Because I ended up stopping by home before 13th Age and Indian food, I was able to taunt Ken with The Book of Demons. However, this session was all about trying to get the magic spear from the crazy monster in the basement without getting our asses kicked again, and then cutting to some political intrigue. Might be demons there, I suppose.


Words: 240.

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1 May 2018 - Tuesday

Hurray, Avalon had an evening free! For smooches! Well, remote smooches, anyway.


Words: 220. I know that the bit where I restarted earlier is not far enough back, but if I go further back, what do I do? Maybe I just have to write the however much preamble and later delete everything before the story begins.

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30 April 2018 - Monday

Please Don't Tell My Parents You Believe her, the fifth (and allegedly last) book in the series that started with Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, is out, so obviously I must reread the entire series from the beginning. Especially since this is the series that made me want to write teen supers in the first place. Perhaps it will help me figure out what I am doing wrong (besides "everything").


Words: 261. I think I need to start with more school and normal stuff before dumping my MC into the labyrinth. *writes some words* Meh, before that even. Not that I want to rewrite PDTMPIaS, but that doesn't mean I can't learn from it.

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29 April 2018 - Sunday

Another useless Sunday. Which wouldn't be bad if I ever accomplished anything on other days!


I often don't read any of the 98634895 RPG projects I back on Kickstarter until they are finished, but Vagabonds of Dyfed has an almost-complete prerelease version, so I read through it. It is OSR × PbtA, to which you might say, "Isn't that Dungeon World?" but this is a slightly different approach It doesn't have moves, it has a resolution mechanic (or I guess you could look at it as Defy Danger grown to take over all other moves). It also doesn't have playbooks, or even classes, just a bunch of abilities that can be taken in pretty much order, one per level. Possibly most interestingly, it doesn't have stats. What it has are more like aspects from Fate: a phrase or sentence for each of your general approach to conflict, your goal/cause/ethos, your gimmick, your background, your current profession/occupation, and something you aren't good at. Each of these you can claim as applying to a roll gives you +1 (or -1 for the weakness) on your 2d6. Equipment and whatnot can also be tagged for ±1 per tag, although more commonly it gives or denies permission to even make a roll.

Seems like it could work.


I actually read some of my vast backlog of manga (from before I boycotted Barnes & Noble for firing all their people), but what I read was the first four volumes of Murciélago (Yoshimurakana), which is pretty much lacking in redeeming social value. It has lots of violence and lesbian lechery, though. Also random Lovecraftian references, although it is in no way a Mythos story, or even overtly supernatural.


Words: 276.

Weekly total: 2303.

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28 April 2018 - Saturday

Today Jus's school (and Nonny's school, starting in the fall!) had their walkathon festival thing. Jus and Nonny, especially Nonny, did not need any encouragement to walk (run!) approximately a million miles each! It was really pretty impressive, especially Nonny.

Then there had to be grocery shopping but I came back for stew and anime.

  • Flip Flappers 11: Oh, that's Mimi. Yikes.
  • My Hero Academia 1.12-13: Triumphant conclusion of the first season!
  • ACCA 5-6: One doesn't usually think of massive train wrecks in terms of political drama, and yet it makes perfect sense. Also, bread and hereditary nobility.

Words: 154.

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27 April 2018 - Friday

The Sea Without A Shore (David Drake) is 985628935642th in the series about the intrepid Age of Space Sail captain and his terrifying librarian partner, which I am still reading. My, history really is full of things.


Words: 406.

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26 April 2018 - Thursday

Today I was kind of productive at work, but only because Huge Customer X made me.


Words: 348.

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25 April 2018 - Wednesday

13th Age and Thai food!

I don't know why, but this was a much more energetic session than most, possibly because we had a concrete, specific obstacle to overcome, and also a deranged ancient cultist to negotiate with. Also my character got embedded in stone and half-petrified, and now the others are trying to decide whether to help her directly, or kill her and resurrect her. Implementing both plans at once seems both suboptimal and inevitable.


Words: 212.

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24 April 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 556.

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23 April 2018 - Monday

Oh dear, there is incel fuckery afoot in Toronto. Good thing that is not the street where Avalon works any more!


Words: 351.

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22 April 2018 - Sunday

After a long gap (during which I did nothing about updating Lam's character sheet), it is finally time for PAD&D5 again! (Even though one of our ninjas is still en route from Hawaii.)

The Rats of Red Larch (and their Lesbian Separatist Skink, Akrá) are herding their captive mice through the sewers of Yartar, to deliver them to the Water Baron, when they are accosted by an ominous black cat. The cat vanishes before doing anything terrible, but they are then immediately swarmed by loathsome sewer rats. Fortunately, Hazelray is 9th level now, and can cast conjure barrage, so between that and Lam's javelin of lightning, the swarm is quickly dispatched. Mara is hardly even electrocuted at all.

Hazelray is sure she knows where the mice need to be taken, so the Rats continue to traverse the sewers, and are then set upon by hellterriers. A smaller number of larger opponents are no match for the upgraded Rats of Red Larch, though, and the ratters vanish with exciting special effects involving the sigil of Cyric. The cat shows up to ask them if they really know where they're going, but Hazelray is certain, so it vanishes and lets them get on with it.

After some random alligators in a vast cistern, the Rats finally arrive where Hazelray's instincts have been leading them: the temple of Cyric, complete with chanting mouse cultists in red robes, an ominous flame, and a black cat lounging on the altar. A fight breaks out.

The Rats are doing as well as can be expected against something so much larger than them, full of evil divine energy, and with nine lives, which is to say, losing slowly, when suddenly the hands of a titan scoop up the evil high priest of Cyric. "Bad kitty!" Oh, right, there was another Popess of the Crystal Dragon!

The Heroines are going to have to do something about this cult of Cyric in the basement of the Cathedral of the Crystal Dragon, although they were not quite cold-blooded enough to murder a small child's pet cat. This time.


Words: 308.

Weekly total: 2235.

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21 April 2018 - Saturday

Reduced anime tonight, because Ayse and Jus have a Girl Scout thing. We played Roll for the Galaxy. (I am still terrible at it.)

  • My Hero Academia 1.10-11: Rewatch for Marith to catch up. Frog Girl is still the best, though.
  • Flip Flappers 10: Looks like Cocona is not so random!
  • ACCA 3-4: I remembered it being longer until we got to the stupid prince. But hey, Jean has been cleared of all involvement with the plot!

Words: 274.

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20 April 2018 - Friday

Space Opera (Catherynne M Valente) is very much Eurovision × Douglas Adams. The aftermath of the great war! Hapless humans holding the fate of the species in their hands! Special effects! Wild aliens! Snarky judges! Wild alien sex! More special effects!


Words: 374.

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19 April 2018 - Thursday

Words: 415.

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18 April 2018 - Wednesday

13th Age Indian food! This session, there were shenanigans with alchemy and dwarven spies on the way to St Claire Island, and then a lot of breaking into an ancient tower to confront the horrible cultist we believe is lurking inside. There were traps, and also jealous academics.


Words: 259.

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17 April 2018 - Tuesday

Hurray, Avalon is still alive! Although her coworkers seem to be trying to make her stabby.


Words: 308. These numbers seem small, but for a long time my daily quota was 250, so actually it's fine. Really. Not pathetic at all.

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16 April 2018 - Monday

Yuck, Monday. At least it's not too hot yet.


Words: 297.

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15 April 2018 - Sunday

Today, about the only thing I did was read up through chapter 135 in Exhuman, which is not exactly good but has a soap-opera-like addictiveness to it. I really don't know what the protagonist's damage is (besides the obvious), [SPOILER] is obviously best, even if you take [SPOILER] into account.


Words: 475.

Weekly total: 2747.

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14 April 2018 - Saturday

Monkeycat Mountain is full of germs, so Cat and Earl and Marith all bailed, but I went over to eat burritos and watch anime. And get crawled on by germ-laden childs, so we'll see how that works out for me.

  • Steven Universe 5.13: But we know that story isn't completely true! I would like some plot development now!
  • Steven Universe 5.14: This is adorable, yet not plot development!
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 12-13: Conclusion of the 12-episode flashback! Next season, apparently we skip forward instead.
  • My Hero Academia 1.10-11: I really like Frog Lass. She's sensible. I think she should be the main character, and also get paired with Floaty Nice Girl. Oh, yah, villains, boo!

Words: 312.

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13 April 2018 - Friday

Marith came over to help me pet Ghirardelli and watch Brave. My, Merida was a spoiled brat, and also didn't pay attention to fairy tales. But the plot was not what I expected, so that was good.


Words: 345.

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12 April 2018 - Thursday

Hurray, Avalon is still alive! And can even do martial arts classes!


Now I am caught up on all 83 existing chapters of Mother of Learning and have to wait for more to be written. I think of this subgenre as "worldbuilding and problem-solving".


Words: 257.

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11 April 2018 - Wednesday

Finally, we had everyone for 13th Age and burritos! (But who designs a restaurant website without a menu?!)

This session, the PCs went three levels deep into dreams, summoned the spirit of a past PC and turned her into a tree that bears stars as fruit, and fought the shadow of the battle that probably doomed the Dragon Empire. Also, there was symbolism.


Words: 123.

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10 April 2018 - Tuesday

At some point, I might need an ominous poetry generator (from this article).

Also, apparently some people play in a way that isn't just taking the piss. Weird!


Kigurumi Guardians (Lily Hoshino) is about defending the pure hearts of young girls (as of vol 1; probably other people have pure hearts too), but the heroine doesn't have a transformation sequence, she has a goofy creature that looks like somebody in a mascot suit until she transforms it into a hot older guy in a regular suit to fight off the villains.


Words: 704. But I stayed up until 978568345 o'clock.

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9 April 2018 - Monday

What the hell, plants? Do I have sex in your nose?


Words: 531.

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8 April 2018 - Sunday

No gaming today, too many people are busy with non-gaming stuff.

No brain today, too few smarts.

But, it's a nice day, so I walked down to the movie theater to see Pacific Rim Uprising. It was as good as the first one, I think. Full marks for no romance between the male and female leads. Also, nice setup for a third movie, now that they have [SPOILER].


Children of the Whales (Abi Umeda) could be post-apocalyptic, or secondary-world fantasy. People on a small island/large ship travelling for generations across an apparently endless sea of sand, most of their generations are pretty short because people with telekinesis are the majority and die young, everyone is mostly content until...

Frau Faust (Kore Yamazaki) is still good up through volume 3, and we get to see more demons and how they enable humans in making everything worse. (The demon designs really show that this is the same artist as Ancient Magus's Bride.)


Words: 325.

Weekly total: 2238.

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7 April 2018 - Saturday

Yay, humans came and cleaned my apartment.


Because we could, we got Chinese take-out and watched Chinese drama! Also some people have become tipsy on peach and grapefruit bellini.

  • Nirvana in Fire 35-37: [SPOILER] is a good guy, obviously, but I think his mom is the one they should be putting in charge of the country. Maybe they can work on that after [SPOILER] is consumed by his own paranoia and stops being a problem.

Words: 304.

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6 April 2018 - Friday

I could have gone to the Engineering team's offsite with them, but it seemed like too much pretending coworkers are friends with the aid of alcohol, so I did work instead.


Words: 305.

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5 April 2018 - Thursday

Mother of Learning is about a guy going to magic college, and facing some minor tribulations, and then there is a huge plot twist. It's not an unprecedented one, but it is definitely a twist. Also, chitin may be involved.

Other webserials I have been reading with less dedication:

  • The Rat Messiah has (pretty bad) CG art to go with the story of a bunch of worlds getting smushed together for massive confusion and probable apocalypse, which our amnesiac protagonist must road-trip through.
  • Entirely Presenting You is a cross between superheroics and urban fantasy, with some difficulties in keeping a secret identity.
  • In Flow, a peasant girl falls for a lady knight, gets sucked into a war with strange creatures, and generally gets her life ruined for love and not knowing her place.
  • The Dragon's Scion (by the author of Small Worlds/Strange Cosmology) has a princess who was raised by a dragon, fighting UFO monsters.
  • Ink (ditto) is set in a world in which society has devolved into being run by gangs of tattooed supervillains, and the main character suddenly has to start her own gang from scratch.
  • The premise of Exercise the Demons (ditto) is that even demons need aerobic exercise. But when they set up a company account, how do they pay the instructor?

Words: 259.

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4 April 2018 - Wednesday

After last week's plague scare, we are back to 13th Age and Greek food!

Kelsey cancelled at the last minute again, but surely the events of this session will not be confusing when she shows up next week.


Words: 205.

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3 April 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 571.

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2 April 2018 - Monday

Words: 269. I was doing well for a while, but now I am stupid again.

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1 April 2018 - Sunday

The world of jokes about Easter and April Fool's Day being the same is just too vast to describe. I'm sure you can explore it on your own.

Ayse and Ken did not deceive us about the Easter feast, though! The glazed shallots were not a lie!


Since we had Earl and Cat, we watched more NiF. But Marith crept away sleepily.

  • Nirvana in Fire 33-34: Honorable people are so difficult to work with!

Vol 1 of the Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid spinoff, Kanna's Daily Life (coolkyousinnjya, Mitsuhiro Kimura), is actually kind of cute.


Words: 225.

Weekly total: 2241.

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31 March 2018 - Saturday

It's Easter Eve (what? why is that not a thing?) so I went to Monkeycat Mountain a little early to help the children dye eggs. There was a lot of fighting, because siblings, but also eggs became colorful.


  • Sailor Moon S 10: And now, heteronormativity for Rei!
  • The Ancient Magus's Bride: Those Awaiting A Star 2: Rewatch for Marith. Still very pretty.
  • Flip Flappers 9: Yayaka's backstory.
  • My Hero Academia 1.9: The worst foe a superhero can face: the media!
  • ACCA 2: Ayse and Ken like this, so I guess we'll keep watching it!

Beasts of Abigaile vol 1 (Spica Aoki): "Your keywords for this shoujo manga are: wolf, prison, and rose. Start writing!"


Words: 382.

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30 March 2018 - Friday

Perhaps appropriately, The Lost Plot (Genevieve Cogman) leaves the overarching plot of the last few books behind and dives into draconic intrigue. Also, bootleggers. And giant wolves. And maybe some progress on the UST.


I have been putting the harness on Ghirardelli when he tries to investigate the Outside, but that usually results in him sitting down and not going anywhere. Tonight I waited until he got all the way down the stairs without the harness, then carried him back upstairs, put the harness and leash on him, and carried him back to where he was to let him keep exploring, and he did! Not that we got more than about 5m from the bottom of the stairs, but he sniffed hedges and sidewalks and laundry vents very successfully!


Words: 259. I had to walk the cat!

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29 March 2018 - Thursday

Words: 421. I thought I was being clever in breaking this up into scenes the way Scrivener makes easy, but now I think I was wrong. Perhaps tomorrow's writing will be mooshing everything together into one thing so I can get good flow.

Which day's writing will be learning to end scenes instead of writing the whole story in one single continuous shot?

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28 March 2018 - Wednesday

Small Worlds and its continuation (not really a sequel) Strange Cosmology (Alex Raizman) are about a hapless schmoe who, after a cursed life, finds a thing that makes him a god and also responsible for dealing with the end of the world. Things get worse from there.

I am caught up on this and will probably keep reading it, but it didn't get my vote on Top Web Fiction even though it's at second place overall.


Words: 326. But although it is easy to write more on the scenes of how my protagonist came to be in the media of all this res (I am keeping the slowly-remembering-while-discovering-the-extent-of-her-doom opening), I have the feeling that a good writer would edit them all down to evocative snippets, and possibly not in any particular order.

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27 March 2018 - Tuesday

Avalon is still working way too much, but her feets are operational, so that's something.


The Squidder (Ben Templesmith) is set in a world where the tentacle monsters from another dimension have won, but although there is definite horror, it is not nearly cosmic enough.

Generation Witch vol 1 (Uta Isaki) is slice-of-high-school-life in a modern world where some people can do magic. Whatever.


Words: 191.

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26 March 2018 - Monday

I somehow managed to go to bed at a reasonable hour last night, and yet I am still sleepy this morning. That doesn't seem fair.


Heretical Edge is kind of a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter and maybe Stargate? (It's still ongoing, so I suppose more genres might get added later.) Secret school, magic, monster hunters (and thus monsters), obscured and dramatic ancestry, getting superpowers from murder, indiscriminate use of memory magic, aliens with strange abilities, interstellar empires, ancient curses, the whole eleven yards. Also, lesbian poly.


Words: 437.

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25 March 2018 - Sunday

This week in PAD&D5, Dave did not have to eschew cookies!

As predicted, there is a big fight (in fact, the big fight, as the Heroines have gone so far out of their way to avoid it that they end up running into it from behind) but hardly anyone dies. Rimardo does not even fall into a deep pit this time, although there is one conveniently to hand. Then, having gained control of some wandering damage combat resources from the [SPOILER], the Heroines decide to throw them into the room they have not yet been willing to assault and set them off (metaphorically speaking). Of course it then turns out that someone they especially wanted to take prisoner is in that room, so there is a tense fight against the most fearsome foe, but Rimardo saves the day with daring and the power of the Crystal Dragon!

Laden with captives (mostly) and loot (a little), the Heroines head back to Yartar.

Apparently that finished off this chapter? wing? of the adventure, so we reaped a great bounty of XP. Level UP!

Some third-level paladin spells are actually pretty cool. Maybe I'll have Lam cast some now, instead of just spending the slots for +4d8 radiant damage.


Made in Abyss (Akihito Tsukushi) is about an amnesiac cyborg from a 20,000-meter pit full of excessive carnivores and ancient artifacts, and the orphan girl who finds him. They seek adventure.


Words: 164.

Weekly total: 2331. But maybe it's all wrong again.

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24 March 2018 - Saturday

We only share about 1/713th of a language, but I think the usual cleaning person is changing jobs, so now someone different will be coming fortnightly. I hope whoever it is appreciates Ghirardelli properly!

Because I was very slow and lethargic, I didn't manage to do grocery shopping in a timely fashion, but on the other hand I didn't have to trundle down to Monkeycat Mountain. They all came to Yuki Sushi for sushi feasting, along with Marith and Earl and Cat! (I got to sit next to Nonny!) Then we went back to Monkeycat Mountain for pie and videos.

  • Sailor Moon S 9: They almost teamed up! But not quite.
  • Nirvana in Fire 31-32: If you want something done right, don't lapse into unconsciousness and leave it to your minions!

Words: 158. But I have sugar-free chocolate cream pie!

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23 March 2018 - Friday

Yesterday was doctor for me, today is doctor for cats. Cats are not good at taking the bus, so I scheduled for when Marith is off and can help transport them, but that meant going in the middle of the day, which meant working from home, which is bleah.

Poor cats! So oppressed! But at least you have crunchyfood now!


Words: 244.

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22 March 2018 - Thursday

I succumbed to capitalism and scheduled my doctor appointment first thing in the morning so I could still go to work at a reasonable hour (for some value of "reasonable"), so I had to get up at a time that by definition was still night. Blugh. Anyway, things are blargh. I should go to other specialists for stuff, and also find some kind of exercise that gets my heart rate up.


Words: 430.

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21 March 2018 - Wednesday

New personal high score!


No Brooks for 13th Age, but Mike brought barbecue instead. (For the record, Brooks's roleplaying ability is much greater than that of a foil container of pulled chicken.)

This session, we got through some more plants and had the fight with the huge pile of cultists, and crushed them all in like three rounds, because mooks. Next session, probably everything catches on fire.


Words: 180. However, being 48 has not apparently made my writing any less terrible.

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20 March 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 566.

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19 March 2018 - Monday

Words: 589. Hey, that was almost like focusing! But am I blathering too much about stuff that should be hurried past?

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18 March 2018 - Sunday

Look, it's a Sunday without gaming! That means I will be completely useless!

As part of being useless, I watched Big Hero 6, which I have had from Netflix for approximately one million years. It wasn't bad, although there were way too many male characters (what is even the point?). The visuals for the [SPOILER] were pretty cool, and Baymax is indeed adorable.


Words: 307. See, useless.

Weekly total: 1887.

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17 March 2018 - Saturday

Apparently Crunchyroll crashed under the load of ten million whippersnappers binge-streaming the 783-828th episodes of One Piece, so we could only watch things we happened to have on physical media. So primitive!

  • Sailor Moon S 7-8: We had to explain to Jus that Usagi thinks there's a rule against girls dating girls, but really there isn't. So who says anime isn't educational?
  • Free! 1-2: Ayse has wanted to watch this since before Crunchyroll was a thing, which is why we had it on disc

What with starting ACCA and now Free! without ending any series, I'm not sure the slot-based method of managing our anime is going to keep working. Maybe I should just keep a list of the last episode watched of each show that has more episodes and call it a day.


Inked Tails and Penned Dragons (Brian Kesinger) are more picture books in the same style as Walking With Your Octopus (for some reason), but about mermaids and dragons, respectively. They are pretty silly.


Words: 374. But at the beginning, it all seems so obvious, and only later do I realize that it is all made of 100% fail.

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16 March 2018 - Friday

I showed up at the St Patrick's Day party for work for a little while, but fled before they could make me participate in any kind of "fun".

On the upside, it looks like the indie bookstore I shopped at in Mountain View is opening a branch right next to where I get groceries, only a few blocks from work!


Words: 329.

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15 March 2018 - Thursday

Avalon still works practically all the time. It is very sad. Also I feel like a loser because I have many hours of free time every week, and never do anything with them.


Words: 109. I know more or less what to write, I just can't stop being a lump. Also, this cat is not helping. (But he is very fluffy.)

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14 March 2018 - Wednesday

We had everyone for Thai food and 13th Age, hurray! This session, we proved not quite cunning enough to find and use the shortcut, but at least we avoided most of the painful parts of the long way around and only lost some time.


Imposter Syndrome (Mishell Baker) finishes the "Arcadia Project" trilogy, or at least seems like it wraps up pretty much everything with the plot, even if the main character is still a huge mess. But she's a slightly more functional mess, and also a triumphant one.


Words: 117. Writing after I get home from gaming is hard. Maybe I should get around to installing Scrivener on my pad and try to write some before gaming? But that is social time. Or I could give up on having a non-deferable daily quota, puny as it is. Ugh.

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13 March 2018 - Tuesday

For the first time in a long while, I went up to the northern office, lured by poached pear sour cream caramel pie (Pi Day, observed). The commute was annoying, but at least it was raining instead of hot, and neither bus nor train failed me.

The pie was pretty amazing.


Tricks for Free (Seanan McGuire) is partly about the fallout from the previous book in the "InCryptids" series and partly about how Antimony can't stay out of trouble to save anyone's life, especially not her own. Plus, theme park madness!


Words: 218. I got back late because northern office, so my brain wasn't working very well. (Yes, yes, goes without saying.)

pie by marithlizard (Thu Mar 15 06:02:54 2018)

That pie does sound amazing, and I vote we should get Ken to make it for us.

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12 March 2018 - Monday

Bah, No-Sleep Monday. Nobody likes it. Everybody hates it. Too many dumb customers.


Words: 433, somehow. By doing individual scenes which I will then try to assemble into the initial flashback chapter, I have some things. Kind of.

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11 March 2018 - Sunday

Ugh, Moonlight Squandering Time. Bleah.


Despite the unnatural hour, everyone was present for this week's episode of PAD&D5!

For lack of a better plan, the Heroines of Red Larch go back down into the [SPOILER], where they end up engaging in a real old-fashioned dungeon crawl: mapping, distinct encounters, all the treasure hoarded by monsters too tough to beat. The final encounter brings them back into conflict with the main body of the [SPOILER], but at least they are able to begin defeating them in detail. Next fortnight, there will probably be a huge fight and everyone will die.


Traveling With Your Octopus (Brian Kesinger) is the sequel to Walking Your Octopus, with the green-haired steampunk girl and her cheerful octopus modelling local costumes and customs around the world.


Words: 145.

Weekly total: 1300. That is indeed a weak total.

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10 March 2018 - Saturday

  • Sailor Moon S 5-6: More monster of the week. Jus scorns the main villain's evil laugh as feeble.
  • Ancient Magus' Bride: Those Awaiting A Star 1: Rewatch for Marith who missed it the first time.
  • My Hero Academia 1.8: Ensemble cast power montage! I caught hardly any of them, but I might still like Frog Girl the best.
  • Flip Flappers 8: Now that we have a firmer idea what Pure Illusion is, we understand the first couple of episodes better, maybe.
  • ACCA 1: Marith and I saw this, but she thought the other might like it, and they seem to. Not sure whether we're going to keep watching it, but we might.

Words: 146. Poke. Poke.

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9 March 2018 - Friday

Yay, Avalon is still alive! Mostly.


Words: 152.

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8 March 2018 - Thursday

Words: Well, complaining in yesterday's entry about how I have no idea how to write things took up 311 words... No idea what I will do with tomorrow. Dying in a pit still seems good, honestly.

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7 March 2018 - Wednesday

Kelsey cancelled at the last minute, unsurprisingly, but we played 13th Age anyway, and also ate tacos until we exploded, after playing a little Codenames to establish that my brain is transparent and tiny (like a marble) but Dave has 80% inscrutibility.

This session, we confirmed the lack of physical evidence at the site of the missing plant, so the magic types did crazy wizard stuff while Kazannethorim rolled her eyes at them. Then we had to go through the magical gate to the upside-down ziggurat anyway, and discover that it is next to a second sun, patrolled by flaming undead, and full of chanting cultists that seemed about to sacrifice a vampire to empower the plant we want. Next session, all the fighting!


Words: 188 into the optimistically-titled restart.txt, but I don't think I can count those as progress of any kind. Maybe I need to restart even further back? Or rather, discard even more of my existing ideas instead of reworking them.

How do you become a supervillain, anyway? As step zero, you need powers and a costume (some powers, like a glowing forcefield or Monster Out, count as a costume as well); without that, you're just a criminal. A nom de spandex is optional, the Internet will be glad to give you one if you're lacking.

But that just gets you to super. How do you get to villain? You can just announce it, I guess, although I don't know what the appropriate occasion would be. Join an existing villain team. Fight a superhero, or at least thwart one. Help a supervillain. And, of course, do a crime. What else? How can I get my main character sucked into a life of supervillainy without meaning to?

Maybe it's just doomed to be uninteresting if her parents are already villains, but I like Slink. Florn!

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6 March 2018 - Tuesday

Because I obviously don't have enough web serials to read, I picked up A Practical Guide to Evil (David Verburg?). In this fantasy world, the gods of Good and Evil sometimes give people the power and luck (not good luck, but appropriate) to live out archetypal roles: the Warlock, the Exiled Prince, the Augur, the Black Knight, the Lone Brooding Swordsman, etc. A couple of generations ago, the dark empire, which was mostly a laughingstock on account of being ruled by people who take names like Malicia or Terribilous, finally got some practical people in major roles, who transformed the Legions of Terror from marauding orc warbands to a professional military, and otherwise tried to get things organized instead of horrifying, and consequently stomped all over everyone. Now a young girl from one of the conquered lands wants to rise in the Empire so she can lessen the oppresion of her people...

The Roles and Names are meta to the readers, but to the characters, that's just how the world works, and they deal with it as best they can, so it avoids being parody by a wide margin. And really, isn't that just the sort of crap gods would pull?


Words: 149, but today I realized that most of what I have written so far is made of fail. I mean, it's always been badly-written and deficient in social justice, that hasn't changed, but very few of the however-the-heck-many words I've written since last October are moving my main character toward being either a supervillain or a superhero. This may mean I should start over AGAIN. Or, you know, die in a pit forever.

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5 March 2018 - Monday

Walking Your Octopus (Brian Kesinger) is a cute picture book about a steampunk young lady and her pet (air-breathing land) octopus. The octopus seems happy to help with all kinds of chores, which makes me wonder about Dave.

The last couple of Spectrums have had a lot of art I didn't much care for, but Spectrum 24 (ed John Fleskes) moves back in the direction of my tastes. it's still very diverse, of course, despite being at least 37% MtG cards by weight (seriously, it seems like WotC is guaranteeing full employment for every fantasy artist with an even vaguely realistic style), but it has less of the stuff I don't like. On the other hand, I didn't feel compelled to buy any of the books whose cover art was selected, so maybe Spectrum has failed after all.


Words: 209.

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4 March 2018 - Sunday

Today, I did nothing! Because I suck!

Okay, I did watch a couple of episodes of Darling in the Franxx, which tumblr has been buzzing about a little. It reminds me of Chrome-Shelled Regios, with the domed cities amid the barren monster-haunted wasteland of the entire world. I'm not sure pair-piloting mecha needed to be sexualized quite that much, though, and I say that as a huge perv. (And why always male-female pairs? And in the same commander(?)-driver(?) roles? (The male lead isn't terrible so far, but I'm pretty sure everything would be much better if Zero Two had picked a female "darling". (Male characters, bah!)))


Words: 508.

Weekly total: 2756. Unfortunately, I have reached the point where I need to know what the antagonists are actually up to. Maybe there's another project I can work on instead?

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3 March 2018 - Saturday

  • Sailor Moon S 3-4: What?! Haruka is a [SPOILER]?! Who could have ever guessed?!
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 12: The end! Not a very conclusive one, but then Nozaki is Nozaki.
  • My Hero Academia 1.6-7: Right into full-contact combat exercises on the first day of school, as one should expect from All Might!
  • Flip Flappers 7: Well, that explanation was not very explanatory. But I don't think the characters understood it either.

Words: 264.

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2 March 2018 - Friday

I'm up to book 4 (I Am Half-Sick of Shadows) of "Flavia de Luce" and still liking them okay, although I might take a break. They are very much what they are.


Words: 527.

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1 March 2018 - Thursday

Hurray, it's Avalon! But she still lives far away.


Words: 278.

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28 February 2018 - Wednesday

We successfully had 13th Age and Chinese food! First, we had to play Codenames because Ken and Kelsey hadn't arrived, and I still suck at it, but whatever. Then we finished the fight against the dire mantises, avoided the magical gate that leads to literally the tarot card "The Tower", and discovered that something has stolen the giant plant we want, without leaving any sign that it was there except for the giant hole where the plant used to be.


Two more "Flavia de Luce" books, The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag and A Red Herring Without Mustard (Alan Bradley), and I am worrying about this girl. She doesn't seem to go to school, her father mostly ignores her, her sisters abuse her (she abuses them back, but still), her only friends are a bicycle and someone with massive PTSD...


Words: 295. Could have been more, but it was already 8734565932 o'clock at night (instead of only half-past 8734565931).

Flavia by marithlizard (Thu Mar 1 21:45:13 2018)

I am glad you are liking the Flavia de Luce books! They didn't ring entirely convincing to me after the first one, but it's been long enough that I don't quite remember why she seemed off to me. Alternately too smart/dumb/old/young as the plot required, I think. Also the sisters need their own passions and projects.

Re: Flavia by Trip (Fri Mar 2 19:31:53 2018)

Yah, there has been some of that. They are not perfect. But I still like them, so I will keep reading them, although I can imagine getting tired of them before the end of the series.

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27 February 2018 - Tuesday

Words: 381. Two good things have happened to my protagonist in this chapter so far, so I think I need to make things horribly awkward now. (She's 13, there is no situation that can't be horribly awkward.)

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26 February 2018 - Monday

I ran out of Taint to read, so switched to Trials by the same author. It is more LitRPG, but SF (kinda?), and funnier. When your protagonist has sold back their ability to make expressions in voice or speech, everything is deadpan humor!


Words: 503, but most of them are probably a huge lump of exposition that should be edited out.

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25 February 2018 - Sunday

Deirdre is sick, but we had PAD&D5 anyway!

After defeating last session's ambush by boldly leaping into the middle of it and daring the [SPOILER] to do their worst, the Heroines of Red Larch retreat to replenish their resources while the ninjas sneak back in to scout. However, their rest is interrupted by the two most dangerous members of the [SPOILER] Hostage Squad, who are coming to parley with the Heroines' friend about the hostage situation. One of the two has been a thorn in the Heroines' side since the first time they saved Red Larch, but the other, although fundamentally annoying, is polite enough, so they all go up to see [SPOILER].

Meanwhile, Mika and Mara, in disguise as low-ranking [SPOILER], have found a variety of interesting things and people in the [SPOILER] lair (including the probable leader), been volunteered for two separate Villainous Activities, and stabbed a few deserving [SPOILER]. Finally they manage to finagle their way to taking the hostage upstairs to confront the Heroines' ally [SPOILER].

The ninjas rejoin the rest of the group as Lamthanc is failing to prove her accusations on [SPOILER]'s body (fighters are totally OP), and when the thorn in their side sees the hostage, the fight begins.

Once the [SPOILER] are driven off, some secrets about the hostage are revealed, and [SPOILER] realizes the fruits of their recent intellectual labor and departs, leaving the Heroines to clean up.


Also I learned that one of the other players has a girlfriend, which has less than 0 direct impact on my life, but reminds me how much of my youth (and really the rest of my life) I have wasted by being me. Avalon not dumping me notwithstanding.


Words: 227.

Weekly total: 2231.

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24 February 2018 - Saturday

Cleaners: check. Grocery shopping: very heavy, but check. Brain: FAIL.


Turkey chili: YUM.

  • Sailor Moon S 1-2: Jus survived seeing this arc of Sailor Moon Crystal, so now Ayse is determined that she should see the correct version.
  • My Hero Academia 1.5: It's not a school adventure unless there's a teacher who hates the protagonist!
  • Flip Flappers 6: So what exactly is Pure Illusion, then?

Words: 278.

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23 February 2018 - Friday

I am not usually a mystery reader, but Avalon recommended the "Flavia de Luce" series (Alan Bradley) so I picked up the first one, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. The protagonist is an 11-year-old girl in rural Britain in 1950, so it is very something. Flavia is pretty great, though. She will definitely grow up to be a supervillain.


Words: 308.

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22 February 2018 - Thursday

Taint is a lot like a shounen fantasy anime in text form, but with some Chinese elements, and a protagonist who is terrifying and not particularly sane. But it's hardly her fault, and regaining her humanity is at the main emotional plot. This may be more difficult when the supporting characters span the range from Chaotic Evil all the way up to True Neutral.


Words: 322.

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21 February 2018 - Wednesday

We knew Brooks couldn't make it for 13th Age and Burnt Rice (not actually burnt, but kind of slow and they messed up the order), but then Kelsey cancelled at the last minute again. Bah!

While waiting for Ken to become available, Dave and Mike and I played Codenames, a word-association game that uses completely different brain cells than most games. I played terribly, but it was fun anyway.

Terraforming Mars is a much more standard board game, although cute enough. We didn't finish, even though we played too late, but I would have done well on the next turn. Really.


She's a street rat from one of the world's few remaining dystopian cyberpunk slums. He's one of the psychic space whales that saved humanity. They fight The System. Honor Among Thieves (Rachel Caine, Anne Aguirre) is definitely not hard SF, but it is pretty charming.


Words: 241. But I stayed up too late writing them, since I couldn't start until after I got back from staying out too late playing Terraforming Mars. Bah.

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20 February 2018 - Tuesday

Bah, work. Can we have fully-automated luxury gay space communism now?


Words: 507.

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19 February 2018 - Monday

What, Trump hasn't been hauled off in chains? This President's Day is defective!


I petted Aspen and she purred! She was sitting in the Basket of Warmth +2, looked at me with big blue eyes like I might commit some horrible act of Thumbed Oppression at any moment, so I sat down beside her and petted her (as I sometimes do). She stopped watching me and eventually made a kind of strange noise, and she was definitely vibrating. What a good kitty!


Apparently Barnes & Noble suck the moose wang, so I did not go in search of manga. (The nearest independent bookstore is more than an hour each way by bus, blah.) I did hunt down an Instant Pot, because Ayse and Ken always use one to make tasty food. Perhaps I could make tasty food! Or, you know, die in a pit.


Words: 348.

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18 February 2018 - Sunday

Despite database failures (not mine!), Marith and I managed to go to Black Panther, and it was as good as people on the Internet said! (I don't understand what white people are complaining about, there was a white guy and he totally did an important thing almost entirely on his own.)


Hurray, Avalon is not dead even though she works too much!


Words: 470.

Weekly total: 2194. I seem to be doing about 300 words per day, on average, which is about 1/6 of NaNoWriMo speed. Bah./p>

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17 February 2018 - Saturday

We had anime even though Ayse has run away with Susan.

  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 10-11: Surprise!
  • My Hero Academia 1.3: Catchup for Marith.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 11: Reunited at last!
  • Flip Flappers 5: I think that might have been Spookytown.

Halcyon City Herald Collection is a supplement for Masks with setting bits, moves for those settings bits ("When you peer through the Time Specs, roll+..."), and some new playbooks. The setting stuff is presented as newspaper clippings, which I think do a decent job of concrete details to build on ("draw maps, leave blanks"), and also reminds people of the role of the press in superhero stories. The new playbooks are the Newborn, the Joined, the Innocent, the Reformed, and the Star, which are definitely advanced playbooks because they each have a very strong theme that could take over a game if left unchecked. Even though they are official playbooks and not wacky 3rd party material, I will sensibly not use them the first time I run Masks (if I ever get to). But I will admire them.


Words: 201.

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16 February 2018 - Friday

It took longer than I hoped, but finally I got the new cluster installed, and it works and is not on fire. So, yay?


Words: 245.

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15 February 2018 - Thursday

There seem to be a lot of entries in the "LitRPG" (person sucked into alternate dimension that is exactly like a computer game down to having literal character sheets), of which I have read only a tiny fraction, but by far the most interesting one I found is Worth the Candle. As soon as he gets dimension-shifted, the main character starts trying to figure out where he is, what "here" even is, and why so much of it looks like literal D&D games he ran. Also, leveling up at computer-game rates is properly viewed as completely terrifying by everyone else who has to learn things for real. Later, it gets kind of meta.


Words: 513, despite Wordscapes.

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14 February 2018 - Wednesday

It seems to be Valentine's Day, and yet there is still an entire continent and a national border between Avalon and me. Hmph.


Words: 387. This time I blame Worth the Candle.

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13 February 2018 - Tuesday

I spent all day trying to fix what I broke yesterday, until people above my (inexplicably not minimum-wage) pay grade decided it would be better to spin up some new servers and start over from scratch.


Oh no, I am caught up on Ward (JC McCrae)! Now I have to wait!

I have not been enjoying Ward as much as Worm (arguably a sign that it is better written, because I am a genre reader with no taste), but it is still quite good, and I want to find out what is going on with all the new characters. I also want many of the antagonists to die horrible deaths, which seems like something that could be in the cards, even if it's more likely to happen to the protagonists.


Words: 166. Bah. I blame TENX.

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12 February 2018 - Monday

Ambari was successfully upgraded last week, so now it's time to upgrade HDP! Or, more accurately, spend all afternoon and late into the evening failing to get it either upgraded or rolled back. On a major production machine. Um. I wonder if Finland is still doing the Universal Basic Income thing? I don't seem to be doing well at providing services for money.


Words: 212.

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11 February 2018 - Sunday

Look, it's PAD&D5! Dave was late, because he went hiking and the trails had changed without the maps or signage being updated, but he did eventually arrive.

The expected defense of Summit Hall against the [SPOILER] Hostage-Taking Squad is derailed by a literal song-and-dance put on by the Squad. Since the only Heroines of Red Larch on the scene are Lamthanc and Hazelrae, neither of them known for their cleverness, the ruse works, and the Retribution Squad escape with their target. Curses!

Even when they are gathered together, the Heroines don't think they can take the Hostage Squad, so they investigate the scene of the crime, and find out the probable target. Then they head back to their ally's location, which is what Lam had been saying they should do all along, so they have some recriminations to occupy their time during the journey.

[SPOILER] is still kind of flipped out, so the Heroines decide they have to handle this on their own, and head back down through the traps (which they can avoid this time) to invade the [SPOILER] lair, and end up fighting a chunk of the Hostage Squad, but fortunately a small enough chunk that they can prevail. Even after fishing Rimardo out of the chasm, they are in bad enough shape that they have to withdraw upstairs and try to rest.

(I didn't realize it until after, but when Jeremy was trying to warn us off the Hostage Squad, he missed a golden opportunity to wave his tentacles and deliver the line, "Are you sure you want to ride this train?".)


Words: 326.

Weekly total: 1847. Oops, still declining. Although if I somehow deserved the benefit of the doubt, I could note that this week had stupid annoying work stuff.

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10 February 2018 - Saturday

I did not manage to get up and functioning before the cleaners arrived, but at least they admired Ghirardelli properly. (Aspen is always hiding when there are humans in her apartment.)

When I tried to go shopping, I discovered that today is Nonny's birthday party! So after shopping and stuff, I went to The Little Gym and watched Nonny and Jus and a bunch of kids have a great time running around and climbing on things and eating pizza. There may have been hugs.


  • Sailor Moon Crystal 3.13-14: The end! Also, cliffhanger for next season (if there is one). Hotaru's dad didn't do as well in this version.
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 9: Poor Chiyo and her umbrella. Poor Miyako and her tanuki editor.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 10: Finally, we see more characters from the framing story! Well, one adorable one, anyway.
  • Flip Flappers 4: "I've seen this episode of Evangelion!" "I've seen this episode of Steven Universe!"

Having run out of Pact, I am now reading Ward (JC McCrae), which is a sequel to Worm. The entire setting is a spoiler for Worm, since it takes place after all the events including the climactic battle, so don't read this first!

Ward follows one of the secondary characters, who had her life ruined and then got it back but now has to do something with it in the new improved world. Only a very few characters overlap with Worm, but these new ones are probably even more messed up. They may also be doomed.


Words: 199.

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9 February 2018 - Friday

With the help of Coworker J and Coworker C, I defeated Ambari. It is now a more recent version, and there's nothing anyone can do about it! Muahahahaha!


I thought it would be a lot longer, but finally I reached the end of Pact (JC McCrae). It turns out to only be about half the length of Worm, which still amounts to like a ten-book series. It is full of doom, because it wouldn't be a Wildbow story without the protagonist getting whittled away mentally, emotionally, and physically in pursuit of their goals, and Pact has some really abrasive surfaces for poor Blake to run into face-first. Or maybe soul-first.

If you like magical magic, and don't mind horror elements, definitely really Pact.


Words: 368.

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8 February 2018 - Thursday

Today's work thing had some more technical content, although it was still hampered by the inability of middle-aged guys to shut the hell up and listen to the presentation. We wrapped up at midday, but New Boss K didn't have to be at the airport until late in the evening, so Coworker J and Coworker S led us to the San Pedro Market, where we ate expensive foods (duck carnitas taco!) and Coworker S admitted to his compulsive ticket-answering disorder. Also I guess we filled New Boss K in on how we do things around (messily).

When I got back to the office, I ended up staying late to mess with stupid Ambari stuff some more. Bah.


Words: 192.

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7 February 2018 - Wednesday

I went into the office so I could at least work on the stupid Ambari thing at work, but was officially instructed that the company event is more important than Ambari, so I used the light rail to zoom straight to the hotel where it's being held, and spent all day being educated on Sales stuff. It was of dubious utility, but I did meet my new boss (and promptly forgot his face, because too many middle-aged white guys in one room), and it was definitely less unpleasant than Ambari.


I skipped out on the festive (read: drunken) company evening in favor 13th Age and Indian food. No Kelsey, but we came up with a good excuse for why her character wasn't there, and we only finished the E1 round of the fight so she can rejoin next week. Er, week after, since next Wednesday is Cute Couples Day.

No terrain stunt until round E4, bah!


Words: 166.

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6 February 2018 - Tuesday

I meant to upgrade Ambari in the morning and then go to the big company thing in the afternoon, but instead I spent all day and into the evening struggling feebly against Ambari before admitting defeat. And I did it from my apartment, which reminded me why I don't like working from home. Ugh.

Ambari sucks.


Words: 242.

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5 February 2018 - Monday

Avalon can walk on her own feets again! It will be longer before she can do jumping spin kicks, which is probably for the best.


Words: 354.

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4 February 2018 - Sunday

I meant to get up in a timely fashion and do the thing, and the other thing, and maybe some additional things. Instead I read Pact until my brain came out, tried to do one thing and failed on account of not being smart enough to ride a bus, and finally did another thing (not the most important thing).


Words: 291.

Weekly total: 2381. Hey, that's more than last week! Maybe I've levelled off!

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3 February 2018 - Saturday

Customers, do not break things on weekends!


  • Sailor Moon Crystal 3.11-12: Heroic disembodied soul action!
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 8: Prince Girl does not understand why everyone is reading shoujo manga!
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 9: Despite the American influence, Japan at that time was not friendly to someone who wants to reshape culture to fit the future.
  • Flip Flappers 3: I don't think missing the first two episodes increased Marith's level of confusion any. Also, the villain from this episode is kind of like something from Kill 6 Billion Demons. Not really, but kind of.

Words: 175.

Marith gave me a good idea for my plot, so I can send everyone careening into a death spiral. I tried to give her a good idea, but I don't think it worked.

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2 February 2018 - Friday

Huh, apparently work has hired someone to manage me and coworker M. I find it somewhat concerning that no one mentioned this to us ahead of time, but I haven't been such an exemplary employee that I deserve special insight into what is happening. Also next week is full of stupid Sales stuff.


Words: 433.

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1 February 2018 - Thursday

Trundling to the vet was not as onerous as I remembered, but bringing back cat food would have been easier if I had thought to bring bags. Sheesh.


Words: 559.

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31 January 2018 - Wednesday

Now that the germs are (mostly) vanquished, it is time for 13th Age and Thai food. Mostly Thai food, since Ken only has about an hour to game before people have to start the long northward trek. This means about one scene per week; this week, it was a fight against an amorphous ectoplasmic blob. But we got a cursed spear.


Words: 165. Still no plot.

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30 January 2018 - Tuesday

Heroines of the Last Age is a hack of Heroines of the First Age (or maybe a variant, since it's by the same people?) for far-future space opera, when the moribund STL empire of humanity and descendant/allied species is suddenly revived by the invention of FTL. (Despite the Galactic Flow (sort of a cross between zero-point energy and the Force), this is slightly harder than a lot of space opera games, but still no Orion's Arm.) The PCs are movers and shakers, who will have to deal with interstellar warlords, entire alien species, ancient artifacts larger than worlds, and the mysteries of the Galactic Core, in epic HotFA style. It reminds me of Strange Stars, in the combination of pulp craziness and modern SF tropes.


After reading some non-genre stuff with smooches and happy endings, I have started Pact (JC McCrae), which I guess is technically urban fantasy, but is more like rural occult, being about pacts (duh) and binding of supernatural creatures and the secret practice of magic. The main character starts out at zero, and after the first arc, it looks like he has learned just enough to have an inkling of how completely and utterly screwed he is. In later arcs, no doubt he will come to see the greater and greater depths of his doom.


Words: 326. I still need a lead to the plot, which means I need an actual plot, not just the main character wandering around using her enhanced senses on people.

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29 January 2018 - Monday

Words: 422. I need more idea.

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28 January 2018 - Sunday

Hurray, Deirdre is back for PAD&D5 (and for, you know, her entire life in California, but who cares about work and family?)!

After setting up a temple to the Crystal Dragon in Yartar (taking over the old temple of Bane, who is no longer worshipped by anyone at all ever) and staffing it with people who will definitely not fall into heresy and corruption as soon as they're unsupervised, the Heroines of Red Larch head out to assault [SPOILER], so their ally [SPOILER] doesn't have to waste any more of his time keeping it bottled up. Along the way, Lamthanc has oracular dreams, which apparently relate to the overarching problem with [SPOILER]. By the Will of the Gods, Lam commits a terrible faux pas when the Heroines meet their ally, which doesn't offend him but does distract him from guarding the front door to [SPOILER]. Since he is busy, the Heroines rush down to keep the forces of evil from coming up, and fall into a cunning trap, which Lam defeats with her mighty thews. Mika, who avoided the trap, overhears the enemy plotting to take a hostage against their ally, so the Heroines dash off after them. Lam and Hazelrae, on Honk-Sneeze, dash ahead and make it to the target ahead of time, but will have to defend against the enemy with the help of only a few NPCs until the rest of the Heroines catch up next session.

During a break in the action, I showed everyone octopus communication. This was particularly appreciated because one of the tenets of the Crystal Dragon is "boo tentacles".


Solve for i (AE Dooland) is a spin-off of Under My Skin/Flesh & Blood, about one of the secondary characters who has realized that she is madly in love with her extremely straight best friend. Some moderately poor decisions ensue, along with near-fatal blushing (because red-headed introvert), but it does work out in the end. This story seemed weirdly retro, because even though Tinder (and the configuration thereof) was a major plot element, there was also a subplot of work drama involving a union! Even though everyone involved works in an office! Truly Australia is a strange and alien land.


Words: 353.

Weekly total: 2247. This number keeps decreasing, which should probably concern me. (The lower it is, the less damage I am doing to world literature!)

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27 January 2018 - Saturday

The cleaners were timely and efficient this week, which is good because their rates have gone up (the San Jose minimum wage has increased, so I can't complain).


No Marith for anime, because Jus and Ayse are full of germs. I ate her share of the chili.

  • Sailor Moon Crystal 3.9-10: Now Hotaru and Chibi-Usa can be monster-out-into-grown-ups-and-try-to-murder-Daddy buddies!
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 7: Nozaki's obliviousness to all things that are not shoujo manga is really quite something. Poor Sakura.
  • My Hero Academia 1.3-4: Finally our protagonist has stopped being oppressed by society and has reached the elite hero academy! Surely all his troubles are over, now!
  • Flip Flappers 1-2: A foolish rationality is the hobgoblin of small audiences!

Words: 309, which is not much but better than usual for a Saturday with shopping and anime and assorted nonwriting activities.

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26 January 2018 - Friday

Another week successfully survived!


The main character of Under My Skin (AE Dooland), Min Lee, is talented and attractive, and only a few years out of college already has a high-paying job, a handsome and kind boyfriend who is even the right ethnicity to satisfy her controlling mother, a plum assignment reporting directly to the CEO, and an increasing dread of having to put on skirt/bra/makeup to go to work each day. One (slightly drunken) evening, she posts a painting of herself looking pretty androgynous to her Deviantart account, which causes one of her long-time followers to try to meet her in person, and her entire life starts unravelling from the gender binary outward. Apparently this is the sort of thing I like, because I liked it a lot despite the complete lack of spec-fictional elements. Maybe I just like the main character's deadpan jokes.

In the sequel, Flesh & Blood, Min makes many terrible decisions, and has to deal with the consequences. If the theme of the first book was that figuring out what gender you are and what gender you want to smooch will make your life 75% less terrible, the themes of this one are that cutting toxic people out of your life will help a lot with that remaining 25%, and honest communication is key in any case. I still like it, although I had to scream at fictional characters a lot while reading.


Words: 146. I had a clever plan, I know I did, but now I can't remember what it was and also I'm too stupid to write.

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25 January 2018 - Thursday

Words: 410, but I may have to rewrite a bunch of them tomorrow.

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24 January 2018 - Wednesday

No 13th Age! No Thai food! Monkeycat Mountain is a house of plague, into which no one except me (and the people who live there) dare set foot!


There were half a dozen epilogue chapters for Worm, which cast some of what went before in a different light but mostly are "where are they now" in the following years. Now I have to decide whether to move on to Pact immediately, or take a break from having my aortic arches stomped on.


Words: 316. I um did not successfully focus (by which I mean "stop playing MPQ), and I probably should to write this part, since it may contain Feelings.

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23 January 2018 - Tuesday

Yay, I fixed a customer!


I stayed up too late finishing Worm, because I couldn't stop there! That was a pretty hard ending to read, though. Did Taylor deserve what happened at the end? On the one hand, she was at least instrumental in <rot13>fnivat nyy bs uhznavgl</rot13> but on the other, she did once <rot13>svyy n thl'f rlronyyf jvgu znttbgf</rot13>. It was a hard ending, anyway.

Two tentacles up!


Words: 365, but why do I even bother?

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22 January 2018 - Monday

Monday already? I think I liked that other weekend better. Roomier.


Words: 348.

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21 January 2018 - Sunday

No gaming today, so I should do something useful! Like... uh... maybe... or... Oh, never mind.


A demo of steampunk martial arts.


Hurray, it's volume 2 of Kill 6 Billion Demons (Tom Parkinson-Morgan)! The visuals on this are still so amazing, and the protagonist is finally getting her act together. Maybe if I eat this guy's brain, I can have an imagination like that?

Apparently there is now a Kill 6 Billion Demons RPG!


Words: 640.

Weekly total: 2545.

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20 January 2018 - Saturday

I completely failed to be useful this morning, so I had to ride the bus to grocery shopping instead of walk. Bah!

Marith was at anime, despite the germ risk, so we caught her up on Lars of the Stars/Jungle Moon and episode 9 of Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions.

  • Sailor Moon Crystal 3.8: Julia: "I like her better when she's evil." Everyone else: "We know."
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 8: Love? Bah, there is only rakugo!
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 6: Ah, the mysteries of screentone. I've never worked with it, but I suspect that it alone would make digital art a thing.

Words: 119.

rakugo by marithlizard (Tue Jan 23 13:50:36 2018)

I am confirmed in my suspicion that Kiku is a big jerk!

Re: rakugo by Trip (Wed Jan 24 13:34:56 2018)

There's probably some horrible saying for it, like "art before tarts", but yep.

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19 January 2018 - Friday

Words: 275.

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18 January 2018 - Thursday

Words: 567. But I have nothing to say, and wouldn't say it right if I did, because fuck horrible old white guys.

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17 January 2018 - Wednesday

Once again, it is time for 13th Age and Italian food! This week, Koru behemoth exploration! Creepy, fungusy, disgusting, and loaded with superweapons. Also everyone's soul is tied together, just in case.

I don't think other people appreciated octopus communication as much as Ken and I. They are philistines who just bought eight tickets to the gun show.


I've now read up through vol 19 of Worm (JC McCrae), which ties up some major plot threads (but only revs up others). Now I want to play supers (although probably not Champions, more likely Masks) and also never write again.


Words: 124. But I finally figured out why everything is so weird since the Gravekeeper bombardment. It's not just all the previously-hidden weirdness being forced to the surface. (This has no bearing on the current story.)

octopus communication by marithlizard (Fri Jan 19 08:28:07 2018)

That is hilarious, and I am somewhat relieved because I would have had to revoke their funding.

Octopus communication by Jeremy (Sun Jan 21 19:00:12 2018)

This is extremely likely to win best video shown in the Gollub house in 2018.

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16 January 2018 - Tuesday

Bleah, work. Sleep is better.


Words: 604.

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15 January 2018 - Monday

No work, MLK Day! Although honestly I would be okay with white people having to work today and PoC getting the day off.


Hardly any Avalon.


Words: 216. You'd think I could do better on a holiday. But you'd be WRONG!

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14 January 2018 - Sunday

First PAD&D of 2018!

Jeremy skipped us ahead weeks? months? in the campaign to where the Heroines of Red Larch had reached 8th level but everything was terrible and they were making a doomed last stand using all the weird stuff that had happened in the intervening time, and then the Crystal Dragon sent her two popesses back in time to where the Heroines had knocked fate off the rails, which turned out to be the confrontation with the [SPOILER] in Yartar. We got to replay that, but with an extra ninja (Mara hadn't been there the first time), and people yelling "Nooooooo!" at dramatic moments, and it all went much better. Plus, the Heroines are still 8th level!

Apparently there is some doubt as to whether Deirdre will come back within the life of the campaign (for unrelated reasons). Bah!


Words: 355.

Weekly total: 2666.

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13 January 2018 - Saturday

Bah, cleaners were late and slow (short-handed, apparently), so I did not get to go grocery shopping at a reasonable time. But wait! I have Monday off, I can go shopping then! Today, I can be useless.


No Marith, she is flat from work.

  • Steven Universe 5.11-12: Lars of the Stars!!!
  • Sailor Moon Crystal 3.6-7: Chibi-Usa's new friend's dad isn't creepy at all.
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 4 (rewatch): This is so episodic that catching up isn't necessary, but so funny that making sure to watch all of it is.
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 9-12: #chunibyo4life #adorable #superadorable

Words: 149. I think I will follow Kit's example and try to write at least 100 words every day, even if the day is otherwise eaten up with stuff. That's only a paragraph or two, I should be able to do it even if it doesn't seem like much.

All my words are still terrible, though.

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12 January 2018 - Friday

Still no Avalon. Healing takes a lot of energy.


Words: 253.

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11 January 2018 - Thursday

Words: 493. I'm getting bogged down again, and my characters are having second thoughts about calling in the authorities. No! Don't wimp out now!

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10 January 2018 - Wednesday

This week, we were prepared for people to not show up, so everyone arrived in good time for 13th Age and BBQ!

This session, my character was completely useless because it was all about talking to people and I couldn't afford any Charisma. But that was okay.


Hurray, there's a new "Twenty Palaces" novella, The Twisted Path (Harry Connolly)! I think it suffers from not being novel-length, because things are a little too neat and not built up enough, but I still like it a lot.


Words: 0, because gaming.

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9 January 2018 - Tuesday

There was almost some Avalon, but no, there was only Zzzuul.


Words: 1063.

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8 January 2018 - Monday

Eww, Monday.


I spent too much time reading vols 7-8 of Worm, which continued to make me feel bad about what I'm writing even though it's not really the same. Probably I should reread Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have a Nemesis instead.


Words: 353.

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7 January 2018 - Sunday

I actually got up and made it to the lab to phlebotomized before it got busy!


No PAD&D5, Deirdre is out of town and Rachel is physically unwell.


There is no gaming, there is only tumblr.


One doesn't expect redeeming social value from light novels, but by sexualizing the practice of medicine, Monster Girl Doctor (Yoshino Origuchi, Z-ton) may achieve the opposite. (But maybe I'm just showing my ignorance of medical/hospital-themed romance novels.)


Words: 642. It's almost like not stressing out about meeting an arbitrary deadline is bad for creativity! (Except we know that can't possibly be true, because America.)

Weekly total: 3664.

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6 January 2018 - Saturday

Finally capitalism relented enough to give Marith some free time, so we went to see SW: TLJ. It was a flawed movie (the technical and military stuff was garbage, because Star Wars), but it had some good bits, including female characters, so fuck off, MRAs. I do not demand my 2 hours and 35 minutes back.


Anime: FAIL, because Crunchyroll FAIL! Instead Dave and Marith caught up on some of the Nirvana in Fire they missed, and then we taught Marith Roll for the Galaxy.


Words: FAIL.

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5 January 2018 - Friday

Today, I managed to do... laundry! Um. Yah, okay, I got nothin'.


I read the first 6 arcs of Worm (JC McCrae), because Twig was so awesome, and it is also good, but it is teen supers so now I understand how much I have failed by giving my main character only a puny amount of adversity to overcome.


Words: 818. Still terrible, and now I know how terrible.

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4 January 2018 - Thursday

No Avalon, she is still 1000% busy all of the time. Maybe more so, now that she has the busted leg and has to find different things to do.


After some number of months, I have finished with Twig (all 20 volumes) and the epilogues. Yikes, that was a lot of doom, and I'm not sure the ending was actually less doomful. I liked it a lot, because I like weird settings and cleverness, and the viewpoint character is all about cleverness, but it is pretty dark. Do not read this story if you have trouble with terrible things happening to minors, mental illness, body horror, tyranny, or unnatural attraction to cake.


Words: 608. Also I did some administrative stuff. Equal-length chapters are for wimps, apparently.

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3 January 2018 - Wednesday

Kill All Angels (Robert Brockway) wraps up the trilogy that started with The Unnoticeables and The Empty Ones, but it does not introduce enough new material to deserve an entire book. The climax is pretty much what could have been predicted in the middle of book 2, and I really would have liked it better if there had been at least one major plot twist.


We tried to gather for 13th Age and burritos, but Brooks and Kelsey failed to appear in a timely fashion, so we broke out Roll for the Galaxy to get them to show up. Brooks showed up just in time to get dealt in, but Kelsey never made it. (Mike won, to no one's surprise. I came in dead last, also to no one's surprise, but not by that much.) Once we finished up, we did a little planning for next week (Hellspears, here we come!) but then imploded.

Kelsey couldn't make it because her skeezy landlord was trying to swindle her out of her cleaning deposit, so fuck that guy.


Words: FAIL.

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2 January 2018 - Tuesday

Wait, I have to get up in the morning? I'm not sure about this 2018 thing...

A lot of customers (and coworkers) seem to still be on vacatino.


Words: 496.

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1 January 2018 - Monday

Starting the year off by being lazy is okay, right? Anyway, nothing is on fire yet, so, so far, so good.


I don't know what my daily quota should be, but today I made 1100 words, so that's probably plenty.

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31 December 2017 - Sunday

As has become traditional, I went to Ayse and Ken's, and we had fondue with Earl and Cat. This year we had no Marith, because it's hard to get both holidays off when you work retail. (It was probably hard enough to get just Christmas off.) So I really can't complain about just being a fifth wheel for an evening, at least no customers were involved!

Earl's fondue was, as always, superb. I probably gained about five pounds.

2018 better suck less, or I'm going to demand a refund.


I have officially failed at NaNoWriMo extension. I am still writing, but at this point I should probably just switch to a daily quota.

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30 December 2017 - Saturday

Well, now my apartment is cleaner, but I'm not any more productive.


  • Sailor Moon Crystal 3.4: Oh no, kissing!
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 8: Now Marith is caught up, so we can resume when Dave gets back.
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 4-5: Dating sims! Mixers! Editors! Bento!
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 6-7: Kiku finds his motivation! Which is apparently the opposite of finding love.

NaNoWriMo extension: 42962/50000.

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29 December 2017 - Friday

Apparently being useful two days in a row is my limit.


I read some new manga that fell into my bag when I went shopping the other day, because I don't have to move to do that.

  • Gabriel Dropout (Ukami): Unexceptional high-school otaku shenanigans, doesn't make use of the supernatural angle.
  • So I'm a Spider, So What? (Asahiro Kakashi, Okina Baba, Tsukasa Kiryu): Teenager sucked into an inexplicably videogame-like world where she must negotiate the levelling and skill system, but she's incarnated as a spider monster. Cute, but not for arachnophobes.
  • Spirit Circle (Satoshi Mizukami): Definitely the best of the three, middle-schoolers inheriting grudges (and spirit minions?) from multiple past lives, where they each seem to have been in the wrong sometimes.

Also read today:

Redeemer (by everybody's favorite Kit, CE Murphy) is Rosie the Riveter × Buffy the Vampire Slayer × Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. Weirdly, it also has a person I know as a secondary character, which hurts my brain, but whatever. People who don't know that person will probably like the character, but I had too much cognitive dissonance. That aside, it is pretty good 1940s and awesome female characters and butt-kicking. Everone should read it!


NaNoWriMo extension 42961/50000. It is not awesome.

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28 December 2017 - Thursday

I didn't get up quite as early as I meant to, but made it to Mike's gaming day no later than many. There were enough people that there were two, sometimes three, games running in parallel, but the ones I played were Tales of the Arabian Nights (a new edition since I played it like 20 years ago; Erin beat me but only because she had more statuses), Betrayal at House on the Hill (I survived and the traitor didn't, so I guess I won?), and then some Tsuro of the Seas (supports up to 8 players, no deep strategy, maybe I should get it for Ayse and Ken's family to play with Jus).

Eventually I was bloated with gaming munchies and it was getting dark and cold out, so I crept back to the train, but people were still gaming when I left.


NaNoWriMo extension 42069/50000.

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27 December 2017 - Wednesday

Today I managed to get up and go to breakfast, do laundry, and even shop for New Year's presents!

I also upgraded to Scrivener 3, which incidentally counts words in a different manner that robs me of 200 words!

NaNoWriMo extension 41713/50000.

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26 December 2017 - Tuesday

Today, I was useless again.


In Arcadia (Andrea K Höst) is the second epilogue to the "Touchstone" series (Stray, Lab Rat One, Caszandra ), and is mostly just goopy mush. But there is some of what happens after the protagonist makes it back to an unsuspecting Earth. Also, hot psionic space ninjas.


NaNoWriMo extension 41007/50000.

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25 December 2017 - Monday

Ayse and Ken and Jus and Nonny were kind enough to have me over to Christmas dinner along with Marith and Cat and Earl. There was ham and brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes and leeks and happiness, and then after the kids went to bed we watched some Nirvana in Fire (still without Dave, but we were equal to the task).

  • Nirvana in Fire 28-29: Uh-oh, Prince Yu is Suspicious!

NaNoWriMo extension 40443/50000.

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24 December 2017 - Sunday

Today, I did nothing of any use whatsoever, not even emergency Christmas shopping. (I meant to, but then it was cold outside, and getting dark, and the stores would suck anyway.)


NaNoWriMo extension 40278/50000.

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23 December 2017 - Saturday

Even though Dave is not here, we had anime! And because Jus was so good at washing dishes, we had Sailor Moon even though she was very sleepy.

  • Sailor Moon Crystal 3.3: Mysterious academy! Witches Ever-Decrementing! Male pronouns for Haruka!
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 3: Shenanigans with the president and star of the drama club!
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 5: In which the main character finds out that he is good at bawdy stories and crossdressing, neither of which befits his dignity.

NaNoWriMo extension 39481/50000. That's pretty much FAIL.

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22 December 2017 - Friday

I didn't like Stiletto (Daniel O'Malley) as much as The Rook, because the main characters were not quite as engaging, but it was still good. Plus, the [SPOILER] reminds me of Twig, which is not a bad thing.


NaNoWriMo extension 39478/50000.

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21 December 2017 - Thursday

Hurray, Avalon is not dead, and finally had time to see me among all the work and recuperating and other work!


NaNoWriMo extension 39000/50000. A nice round number, only a few thousand behind where it should be. Maybe dying in a pit would be better.

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20 December 2017 - Wednesday

For probably the last time this year, 13th Age and Thai food! Apparently this is the part of the adventure where we fight monsters that hit on a 5 or better, and do enough damage to outright kill most of the party in one shot. I don't know about this game...


I read The Rook (Daniel O'Malley) on Ayse's recommendation, and it is pretty good! It's somewhere between "The Laundry" and supers, and seems quite British but more on the eccentric-tradition side than the Laundry's bureaucracy humor. It actually reminds me more of Simon R Green's "Shaman Bond" series in the way people randomly have supernatural abilities, although it's not nearly as over the top. It is also quite funny in places, when it is not being alarming.


NaNoWriMo extension: FAIL.

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19 December 2017 - Tuesday

The office passed inspection, so all our rewiring work yesterday must have paid off.


In Princess Holy Aura, Ryk E Spoor addresses the important question, can a mahou shoujo team be run ethically? It is very mahou shoujo: talking animal companion, why teenage girls, transformation sequences, dashing mysterious man, whence world-threatening monsters, elemental affinities, how no one remembers the ancient evil rising or being defeated before, catchphrases, opposing elemental team, etc. Bonus points for diversity in race and wealth. The twist is that the first person the talking animal selects to save the world is a geeky, financially-struggling, gamer... grown man. As the author admits, this is potentially extremely bad, but I think it was done reasonably non-badly. It's not the focus of the book in any case. Anyway, PHA is not artfully written, but I liked it pretty well.


NaNoWriMo 38412/50000, which is better than yesterday, but still not anywhere near caught up. I think this all started going off the rails when I couldn't come up with a good reason for the PCs to not turn everything over to the grownups and go hide under the covers forever. I have a bad reason, but it's just getting them into more trouble without making abdicating responsibility seem less appealing. Maybe I need to invoke more deus ex machina, because it's supers?

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18 December 2017 - Monday

Today the Appropriate Authorities finally noticed that our office is powered entirely by daisy-chained power strips that are probably one thunderstorm away from exploding in flames and issued an Edict. Fortunately we are a small company, and our office manager just went to Fry's to get more appropriate power strips that we installed by the end of the day.


NaNoWriMo 37694/50000. Ugh. I need a plan. But I have no plan, only dumbness.

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17 December 2017 - Sunday

No gaming, only gingerbread! I was not that amazing, but I stayed until the last train that wouldn't involve exceeding the bounds of scheduled hospitality, and even talked to Susan about a writing a little. (She is an actual writer, not like me.)


NaNoWriMo extension 37025/50000, which is only two days behind. But still not going anywhere.

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16 December 2017 - Saturday

As usual, I meant to get up early so I could go shopping right after the cleaners finished, but failed miserably. This week's excuse is that I was out playing board games until like 23 o'clock.


  • Sailor Moon Crystal 3.1-2: Jus is now watching this with us, at least until it becomes too scary. So far it is not, although there are very ominous shots of the Outers.
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 2: The "basing characters on people Nozaki-kun knows" episode!
  • My Hero Academia 1.1-2: We have just gotten to the part where All Might acknowledges the main character's potential. Ken hates this show, for reasons that I do not grasp, but maybe he will change his mind when they get to the superpowered tactics bits. Or not!
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 8: The Priestess may be awesome, but it's not clear she's a great parent.

NaNoWriMo extension 36281/50000, which is not quite FAIL. Technically.

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15 December 2017 - Friday

Instead of laundry and writing, I went to Monkeycat Mountain to play board games. Mike and Brooks from Wednesday night gaming were there, and Mike's daughter Erin who is on break from college, and some games were played. I tied with Erin at Dominion, and then she crushed us at Roll for the Galaxy. Some other people also played Tzolk'in, and Mike crushed them. Also there was pizza and Indian food.


NaNoWriMo extension: FAIL.

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14 December 2017 - Thursday

NaNoWriMo extension 36159/50000. But the plot is not advancing, because I don't know where it should go, because I am dumb.

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13 December 2017 - Wednesday

13th Age, featuring chili and cornbread cooked on-site by Brooks!

The PCs managed to get to the flying island of storm giant philosophers, talk to them about the doom that is coming, and get access to their library. Then the murders orc assault began, requiring the PCs to discard all of their reasonable plans and start trying to steal the Stone Thief's other eye.

At this point, Nonny exploded, so we had to cut gaming short.

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12 December 2017 - Tuesday

From today's Internet:


NaNoWriMo extension 35281/50000. I am technically caught up through tomorrow (when I won't have any writing time), but only by having too much detail again.

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11 December 2017 - Monday

After a long break, I have finally finished chapter 16 of Twig (Wildbow). Oh the doom. And dismemberment. And romantic tension. And Helen, who is some combination of all three. (Helen is the best.)


I finally have spent the mountain of stamina I got from blowing all my diamonds on the star event in Love Nikki!


NaNoWriMo extension 34127/50000. Better than yesterday, I think.

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10 December 2017 - Sunday

The published version of PbtA, so that's all good, but it doesn't have quite the tightness and evocativeness of the best PbtA games. So, you know, only better than I could do myself, not inexpressibly better.


I spent most of the day futzing around on the computer and intermittently writing, making it up to 33186/50000, but I think today's words were even more terrible than usual. Specifically, too much unnecessary detail, probably due to being unfocused and also a terrible writer (and generally stupid).

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9 December 2017 - Saturday

Ken and Ayse and Jus went to Ken's work holiday party, so there was no actual anime tonight. Instead we watched Whisper of the Heart, which I have seen, and Dave thinks he has probably seen but didn't remember and Marith had not seen. It was as low-key as I remembered. Bonus points for the middle-class Tokyo family not living in a veritable mansion.


Persepolis Rising (James SA Corey) picks up the story of "The Expanse" some decades after the last book, when the new regime has stabilized and most of the main characters are getting on toward retirement age. Suddenly, a new problem arises! It was probably inevitable, given the situation they were left in, but it is a doozy, and will be the focus of at least one more book, if not the end of humanity (one way or another).


NaNoWriMo extension 31580/50000.

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8 December 2017 - Friday

I'm sure I meant to do something useful today, but without success.

NaNoWriMo extension 31538/50000.

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7 December 2017 - Thursday

Avalon is stuck in bed, which is bad for working, but good for napping.


NaNoWriMo extension 30355/50000. I am still just barely on track to finish by the end of the month. Well, to reach 50000. No idea if that will bring an end to this horrible novel.

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6 December 2017 - Wednesday

Avalon has had surgery on her leg and is not dead even a little bit, although she is not very happy right now.


This week, everyone is healthy and present, so we played a little 13th Age. Only a little, because we can't start until well into the evening after Jus has been put down, and because we apparently cannot focus worth beans (or sessions are so short that the time it takes us to focus leaves almost nothing for playing). Also, it's still D&D.

Maybe I'm just disgruntled because I ate too much Italian foods.


NaNoWriMo extension 29770/50000.

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5 December 2017 - Tuesday

Avalon's accident was martial-arts-related (and now I know why the dojo I went to only taught those techniques on "silly kicks night"!), but apparently bad enough that she needs surgery. That is not okay! Avalon, take better care of your bones!


NaNoWriMo extension 29707/50000. No one has a good plan. Everyone is doomed, including the author.

Meep! by marithlizard (Thu Dec 7 05:38:31 2017)

Poor Avalon! I hope her leg heals fast and she has the good pain drugs!

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4 December 2017 - Monday

I have know Rachel for many years, so I understand that broken bones are just a thing that happens in martial arts, and I will not get too worried about reports that Avalon has broken her leg.


The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune (JY Yang) are advertised as being independent, and they probably could be read in either order, but interally they are in that order. They seem like Asian fantasy (pugilists, mountain monastaries, kirin and naga) with magic that is almost sufficiently advanced, but also famliar physical laws and an oddly unEarthly world. Also, all children are of undeclared gender (with medical support) until they explicitly decide to be a girl or boy. Political machinations and strange magic ensue.

There are supposed to be two more pieces coming out next year, which I hope means early in the year and not endless months from now.


NaNoWriMo extension 28877/50000. This is the point where I need a good reason for my characters to not turn the matter over to someone qualified to handle it. And then the characters need a good plan to avoid that happening anyway. Because grownups.

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3 December 2017 - Sunday

Not Your Villain (CB Lee), the sequel to Not Your Sidekick, is okay on representation, but the writing style seems to embody "tell, don't show". Also, we already know what to do about storms and solar panels, so worldbuilding/research failure. Meh.


NaNoWriMo extension 27903/50000.

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2 December 2017 - Saturday

I meant to get up and ready before the cleaners came, but that trick never rarely works. So I was super-useless.


  • My Little Pony 25-26: End of the season! I'm not sure even Jus is enjoying this that much, so I don't know if we will go on to watch the second season.
  • Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun 1: This is our new show to watch while Ayse & Ken put Jus to bed. It is pretty funny, and also kind of adorable. I'm surprised the main character hasn't thought to rehearse her confession, but that would just ruin things.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 4: Why is being a responsible and functional member of society so much work?
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 6-7: Aww, Rikka has a tragic backstory. I can sort of guess how the rest of the season will go, but it will probably continue to be adorable. Also I kind of ship Nibutani and Dekomori.

MLP by marithlizard (Mon Dec 4 18:24:27 2017)

What would we watch instead in that slot though, to keep Jus included? Back to Sailor Moon? Convince her parents that the first part of Avatar:TLA might be okay? Investigate that Adventure Time thing people talk about?

(I'm not particularly thrilled with MLP, but don't mind it either at this point, and I think Jus enjoys being the resident expert who knows all the spoilers. Plus people keep saying it improves in later seasons.)

Re: MLP by Trip (Mon Dec 4 19:10:27 2017)

I don't know, do I look like a parent?!

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1 December 2017 - Friday

The NaNoWriMo progress tracker only works until the end of November, so I have to use the Scrivener wordcount which is a little higher (I'm guessing hyphenated words, but I don't actually know), at 27215/50000. I guess at this rate I might be done before the end of the month, perhaps. Dying in a pit still seems like a better gift to the world of literature, though.

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30 November 2017 - Thursday

NaNoWriMo 26572/50000. I have officially failed, and am made of 46.856% fail and 53.144% suck.

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29 November 2017 - Wednesday

No 13th Age this week. Brooks is out, Kelsey is sick, and Mike is too good for us.


Fourth in the "Harmony Black" series of secret FBI agents vs demons and politicians, Cold Spectrum (Craig Schaefer) finally lets the main characters discover the Awful Truth, and also shoot a lot of people who deserve it. This is a phase change for the series, so it could either end here on a high note or continue along the new course. Unfinalized villains suggest the latter.

"Waiting on a Bright Moon" (JY Yang) feels a little like Ninefox Gambit, but it's explicitly magic, and queerness is a big deal instead of gender being completely optional. It was pretty good, and I will look for more by this author.


NaNoWriMo 25334/48333.

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28 November 2017 - Tuesday

It has been too long since I read a James Alan Gardner book, but now there is All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault, featuring superheroes vs libertarian vampires! Okay, it's more complicated than that, but therefore even cooler. Also in the afterward, the author admits to being a Champions player.

All The Pretty Little Horses (Mira Grant) is a prequel to the "Newsflesh" trilogy. Despite the title, no one is actually eaten by a horse; in fact, it's kind of heartwarming. As much as a zombie story can be, anyway.


NaNoWriMo 24192/46667. I guess maybe I could reach 50k by the end of the year? Or I could die in a pit, that seems better for the World of Literature.

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27 November 2017 - Monday

Work is not so bad after a vacation, it's mostly the getting up that I don't like.


I stayed up too late writing (very inefficiently), but still only made it to 23254/45000.

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26 November 2017 - Sunday

Today I accomplished nothing useful except to see Thor: Ragnarok, and that was questionable. I mean, I liked it, but it didn't make very much sense. On the other hand, Cate Blanchett Murders Everyone, Slinkily. Valkyrie is pretty cool, too.


NaNoWriMo 22353/43333

No pits! by marithlizard (Wed Nov 29 19:12:32 2017)

Should we see the Last Jedi movie?

Re: pits by Trip (Thu Nov 30 22:39:34 2017)

Sure, when it comes out in a couple of weeks!

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25 November 2017 - Saturday

Our hosts had to go to Reno early in the morning to cheer on Kate at a band event (with a football game attached?), so there was no reason to keep hanging around (except in Jus's case) and we made a somewhat timely departure.

On the way back, Ken and I consumed episodes 2.4-2.8 of Alice Isn't Dead. Well, that's a lot of doom!


All my kitties are still fuzzy, because Marith checked in on them.


NaNoWriMo 20874/41667

This is just about exactly half of where I should be, because I suck twice as much!

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24 November 2017 - Friday

After sleeping approximately forever, I felt better, although still kind of mucusy.

We went to Al's FLGS, but roleplaying games consist of 45% Pathfinder, 45% other editions of D&D, and 10% other. Bah!

Ken bought Roll for the Galaxy, which is like Race for the Galaxy as a worker-placement game with piles of custom dice, and we played it a few times. I like it about a million times more than Race, possibly because it's easier to get Produce and Ship phases going (which I'm sure means it's boring to Serious Gamers, but pblt). Dave and Ken still win, because some things are constants, but I don't necessarily lose embarrassingly all the time.

At Ken's instigation, Dave and Al and Robert made characters for Blades in the Dark. (So did Ken and I, although his crazed plan is that we will alternate running, so our characters would each only be there half the time.) I wonder what a good mission for a Shadows crew would be?

Many leftovers fell in battle this day.

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23 November 2017 - Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, as always, I am thankful for my people. Because they are the best people, even ones who are not here right now.

There was so much food. I did not actually eat too much, though.

After dinner I had a stupid argument with Ken and then hid until I went to sleep for about 14 hours.

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22 November 2017 - Wednesday

No work, only Zuul! I mean zoom! Also episodes 2.1-2.3 of Alice Isn't Dead. America is a creepy place.

Also mucus.

We all arrived safely in Roseville, where everyone was also doing well. We played Lords of Waterdeep and I was terrible at it, but oh well.

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21 November 2017 - Tuesday

The Wrong Stars (Tim Pratt) has aliens that are not monocultural, but alas we don't see very much of them. On the other hand, we see space opera (malevolent Ancients subtype) action, and girlsmooches.


NaNoWriMo 19300/35000

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20 November 2017 - Monday

Ugh, Monday. But at least our new conference rooms are done!


Into the Drowning Deep (Mira Grant) is the sequel to Rolling in the Deep, about the followup expedition to the horrible place of horror. So, in some ways it is very similar, but in others not. (Humans do seem capable of learning, a little, sometimes.) There is a specific plot thread, and something that's been used to taunt the reader twice, that makes me think there needs to be a third story, but I have no idea whether this will come to pass.


NaNoWriMo 18415/33333

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19 November 2017 - Sunday

No gaming today, since we know ahead of time we are missing 2/6 players. Possibly this is for the best, since my throat is full of hoarseness and mucosity.

Hey, do you think that might be related to my inability to write more than a handful of words per day?

NaNoWriMo 17656/31667

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18 November 2017 - Saturday

Between cleaners and no brain, I did not get much done today, but I did go to anime (where we had no Marith).

  • My Little Pony 24: Today's moral: don't be paranoid and jealous. Or if you must, be a competent plotter.
  • The Ancient Magus' Bride OAV 2-3: I found this to be a little cryptic, but apparently it was clear as glass to everyone else, so probably I'm just dim. Anyway, it was very pretty, and also tragic.
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 4-5: Now we know the shape of Class Rep's terrible past! Napping Girl seems to be the only one not involved, but perhaps we will find out more about her. Please note: this show is adorable.

As you might expect (well, okay, be unsurprised by) from Jim Hines, Terminal Alliance is about heroic janitors. In space! There is alien skullduggery, intrigue, betrayal, certain doom, uncertain doom, mystery, space warfare, and no romance. Don't mess with janitors, man.


NaNoWriMo 16951/30000

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17 November 2017 - Friday

Malice of Crows (Lila Bowen) is the third book about everyone's favorite shapeshifting transcowboy (cowtransboy?) monster hunter. It is pretty much a direct follow-on to the second book, and would not stand well on its own, but that just means you should read the other two books first.


I can't believe it took me this long to realize that liking PbtA games' "play to find out what happens" might be related to the way I write without planning out ahead of time.

NaNoWriMo 16673/28333.

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16 November 2017 - Thursday

NaNoWriMo 15804/26667.

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15 November 2017 - Wednesday

My 13th Age character is still dead, probably until the 15th Age. (When we finish this campaign, maybe we should do Microscope for the 14th Age and Interregnum, and then run a game in the resulting 15th Age (using Dungeon World, of course).) The other PCs engaged in elven politics, swapped some characters around, and then set out to save the world.


NaNoWriMo 14770/25000.

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14 November 2017 - Tuesday

HAPPY HAPPY NONNY-DAY!!

I went over to Monkeycat Mountain to help Nonny celebrate reaching the advanced age of FIVE! There was cake with rainbow flowers, and many car-related presents.


NaNoWriMo 14710/23333 words of terribleness.

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13 November 2017 - Monday

That most inauspicious of days, Monday the 13th!


NaNoWriMo 13248/21667. Avalon saved me, or maybe saved my characters, but it's still terrible because I'm the one writing it.

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12 November 2017 - Sunday

I had all day to work on NaNoWriMo but I still only got to 12411/20000, because I suck. I'm only writing about half or a third as fast as I did last year, and it's probably half or a third as good, too.

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11 November 2017 - Saturday

For Marithday (observed), we went bowling. Bowling is okay, but bowling alleys are very loud. I think Jus and Nonny liked it, though, which was the main goal.


Later, we had pot roast and vegetables and brussels sprouts from a brussels tree and fully-baked rolls, and cake for lizards!

  • Steven Universe 5.5-7: Jus has very big feelings about what Lapis did!
  • Durarara!!x2 3.12: The end! Mostly, anyway, although there are lots of unresolved bits and it was not entirely satisfying.
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 3: Augh, there's two of them! But I would totally join the Napping Club.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 3: Flashback to WWII, which does a little more to anchor this in time.
  • Steven Universe 5.8-10: Kevin somehow managed to end up being useful! Pearl could not say things! Lion made a choice, but it's not clear what that choice was! Now we have to wait a million years for more episodes!

NaNoWriMo 11179/18333

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10 November 2017 - Friday

No work today, because we get All the Holidays off.


Henchgirl (Kristen Gudsnuk) is a reasonably amusing story of a 20-something supervillain and her complicated life with a gang that doesn't appreciate her and roommates that want her to pay rent and relatives that have completely different ideas what she should be doing with her life. It feels like it is mocking the superhero genre more than making fun of it, though, if you know what I mean. (To be fair, the superhero genre is pretty ridiculous.)


NaNoWriMo 11143/16667. You'd think I could do better with a whole day off, if you had never met me.

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9 November 2017 - Thursday

NaNoWriMo 9187, but by this point I should be at 15000 terrible words.

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8 November 2017 - Wednesday

The Prisoner of Limnos (Lois McMaster Bujold) is the sixth (and possibly final?) book of "Penric & Desdemona", in which Penric pretty much gets what his heart desires. They could certainly have many more adventures, but I don't think more are needed.


Ken was not too sick to run 13th Age this week, but my character remained dead. This may be just as well, since the survivors found out the horrible truth behind Anwë's beloved Elf Queen.


I made up for yesterday by not writing anything at all today, because I suck.

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7 November 2017 - Tuesday

Thyroid biopsy results are: no need for action. Whew!


I finally wrote a day's worth of NaNoWriMo in one day! 2126, for a total of 8087 terrible words!

YAY! by marithlizard (Thu Nov 9 05:11:37 2017)

On both counts!

Biopsy by Jeremy (Thu Nov 9 19:50:21 2017)

Have you considered that's what your thyroid wants you to think?

Also, .

malformed HTML by Jeremy (Thu Nov 9 19:50:59 2017)

Apparently "whew" isn't valid HTML.

Re: Biopsy by Trip (Thu Nov 9 22:05:57 2017)

My doctor seems pretty competent, I think she can outwit a gland.

&lt;whew&gt;?

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6 November 2017 - Monday

NaNoWriMo 5961 terrible words. I am still at about 60%, so at this rate I could finish by Christmas.

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5 November 2017 - Sunday

Now that everyone uses networked devices to tell time, Daylight Spending Day causes much less confusion. But it still comes in the part of the year where getting out of bed is unappealing.


We had no Deirdre or Edie for PAD&D5, but gamed anyway because we are just that mean!

The Heroines of Red Larch are thwarted in their desire to assault the [SPOILER] by a revelation from the Crystal Dragon sending them to Yartar. Rimardo's former patron wants to experiment on Lam to find why she can still [SPOILER] when no one else can, but she demurs. Mara and Hazlerae do stay behind, because some information could be gained from them, and they are NPCs this session.

Along the way, the Heroines are attacked by a [SPOILER] and his pet rock, sent futilely by [SPOILER] to wreak a terrible revenge. That sort of thing happens a lot when you're saving the world.

In Yartar, they find [SPOILER]s trying to subvert the faith of the Crystal Dragon by preaching a deviant theology that spreads despair among worshippers of the gods! The Heroines attend one of these sermons to gather information, but Lamthanc is so offended by the preacher's calumnies of the gods that she has to smite them with Moonbeam, and the inevitable fight breaks out.

Lamthanc successfully tanks the majority of the heretics, while the rest of the team concentrates on the preacher and their [SPOILER]. Miraculously, only one or two bystanders are killed, and none of them by the Heroine's actions. The preacher and the toughest enemy escape, but are probably not going to be a problem again, and the city is not destroyed. Hurray!


NaNoWriMo: 4589 terrible words.

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4 November 2017 - Saturday

I did not get up and ready to face the day before the cleaners arrived, and then there had to be scheduling confusion about Marith's birthday bowling, which was eventually cancelled. There was pretty much no writing.


Marith came to anime, although she did not help feast on soup because she still fears the germs.

  • My Little Pony 23: So basically the entire show, or at least the entire cast, is Rainbow Dash's fault. Okay, I'd buy that.
  • Durarara!!x2 3.11: A lot of shounen anime seems to come down to Philosophy To The Death.
  • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju 2: Flashback, to when the cantankerous old master was a stuck-up young apprentice!
  • Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions 1-2: This is surprisingly cute for how goofy it is. Something about the character designs and interactions reminds all of us of 90s anime (in a good way).

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3 November 2017 - Friday

When I remember to put the harness on Ghirardelli to train him for going for walks, he usually just disgruntledly lies in one place, but I managed to coax him to go up and down the stairs a little. Mostly he sat on the neighbors' doormat, though.


I'm up to 3596 words of NaNoWriMo, which is where I should have been on the 2d. Also, they are all terrible.

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2 November 2017 - Thursday

My thyroid has been biopsied. It was a little uncomfortable, but not too agonizing, probably because the needles didn't have to go too deep. Apparently the samples have to be inspected by a human with a microscope and appropriate training, but hopefully the results will be in before my doctor goes on vacation next week.


The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Tade Thompson) is pretty darn creepy, or maybe creepier than that. Hopefully his books will be published as ebooks soon.


NaNoWriMo: 2342. This is how many words I should have had yesterday. Maybe it's more like NaNoWriSeason? Season of FAILURE.

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1 November 2017 - Wednesday

Ken is still full of germs, so we had to cancel 13th Age and also dinner. But it's not like I have a new character, so I guess it's mostly dinner that I miss. (No, not really!)

On the other hand, now I can work on NaNoWriMo and set a good precedent.


NaNoWriMo: 1117. Ugh. That is not enough words. Also, even though I'm rewriting last year's NaNoWriMo, I think I'm making it worse, not better>

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31 October 2017 - Tuesday

The plan was to go over to Monkeycat Mountain to play Halloween-themed games and hand out candy to kids, but now they are a house of plague! I quickly bought some candy and went home, but even though my neighbor has decorated the stairway extravagantly, no one came to eat my candy. I guess I will save it until December, when most people have run out of Halloween leftovers, and then take it in to work.

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30 October 2017 - Monday

PlainText, which I use for all my character sheets because I'm an idiot that way, was failing to sync with Dropbox, so I tried deleting and reinstalling it and discovered that it's no longer in the App Store because it was discontinued at the beginning of the year! Bah! I switched to 1Writer, which cost money but seems to work okay for what I ask of it.

(I also upgraded to iOS 11, which is a little weird but mostly fine. I find the pull-down keys reasonably intuitive.)

I was interested in PlainText because I was trying to make a new 13th Age character, but Ken won't tell me what his houserules for druids are! So I tried making a ranger. Wum.

Why am I not playing Dungeon World?

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29 October 2017 - Sunday

Today's accomplishment: taking a nap. I may be kind of useless.


I'm only up to episode 4, but so far Stranger Things 2 is just as good as the first season.


Aho-Girl (Hiroyuki) has only about three jokes, which isn't enough for even one volume, never mind how many there actually are.


The Nightmares Underneath is technically OSR but with a definite modern indie vibe around it. This is not surprising, since it's by Johnstone Metzger, who has written several things for Dungeon World. Or maybe I just approve of it because it has slot-limited inventory, and Ferocity instead of Strength (though it still has Health and Dexterity). The setting is the Kingdoms of Dream, which are only actually a part of the Dreamlands if you want to go that way, but are always an Arabic-flavored fantasy world being invaded by extrusions of the Nightmare Realm, which are pretty similar to living dungeons with nightmare creatures as bosses (normal monsters and cultists are also attracted to dungeons). PCs are special because they are not as afflicted by nightmare curses as normal people, so they get to go into the dungeons to save the world.

There are tables for when you've retired on your nightmare loot but now find that you have to go back into the dungeon.

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28 October 2017 - Saturday

I finally got to Phlebotomytown, although it threw my schedule off completely. Bah.


In theory, there is no reason I couldn't boil pirogis until they float, and then add some kind of sauce. But it is so much better when Ken does it.

  • Nirvana in Fire 26-27: Well, there's no point in a character having an incriminating secret if it's not going to slowly leak out!
  • Steven Universe 5.1-5.4: That explains a lot about Lion! Wait, no, actually it only explains a little about Lion. But go Lars!

Now we are tragically out of Steven Universe! Woe!

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27 October 2017 - Friday

Apparently there are lumps on my thyroid, so I need to have a biopsy done next week. I'm not freaking out until I have an informed medical opinion on this, so you shouldn't either.


The first volume of Nirvana (Jin & Sayuki (ZOWLS)) is not interesting enough to make me get any more of it.

On the other hand, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness (Nagata Kabi) is pretty good introspective autobigraphical angst about being a young woman in Japan. It is about half lesbian and half lonely, but all feelings.

lumps by marithlizard (Tue Oct 31 11:01:53 2017)

Meep! Hopefully they are merely a poor choice of Halloween costume on the part of some cats.

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26 October 2017 - Thursday

In volume 1 of Frau Faust (Kore Yamazaki, of The Ancient Magus' Bride), Johanna Faust is going around Europe trying to reassemble her demon, while avoiding the martial artists of the Inquisition and picking up stray kids and other creatures along the way. I am interested to see where it goes.


Avalon is not sick, but she is busy.

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25 October 2017 - Wednesday

Despite Caltrain's attempt to kidnap Ken, tonight is 13th Age and Indian yummies.

The undead in the pocket dimension were a very hard fight, with bonus powers to promote character death, and indeed Anwë was sucked down into death, probably becoming one with the howling void that used to be the Elf Queen. Oops.

I still don't like D&D, but I'll probably make another character so I can keep gaming with my friends until the end of this campaign (unless trying to make a character induces frothing despair). Next game better be something more modern, though!

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24 October 2017 - Tuesday

I went to have my thyroid pinged, because my doctor thought she felt a lump. It turns out the place with the pinger is only a kilometer or so from the vet, so I was able to get a little more cat food to tide them over until Marith can fetch a large shipment.

Ultrasound is gooey.


Avalon is less sick!

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23 October 2017 - Monday

HAPPY HAPPY AYSE-DAY!!

That is all.

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22 October 2017 - Sunday

How do I play PAD&D5 again? (Yes, more D&D. What is this, 1980? Geez!) Oh, right, roll very low numbers on a d20!

At the end of last session, the Heroines of Red Larch had beaten up a bunch of monsters in the antechamber to [SPOILER], but some had escaped to no doubt set an ambush for anyone trying to go deeper in. So, following the plan from Akr´'s giant brain, the Heroines decided to go back to another location that they know has a connection to what they're trying to reach. On the way, they encounter [SPOILER] and [SPOILER] working themselves up to come to blows over possession of the [SPOILER] that the Heroines depopulated earlier and have to resolve that dispute, which do they do with stunning diplomatic prowess.

The plan of approaching the battlefield from an unexpected direction works surprisingly well, especially when their mere appearance causes one of the underbosses to try to switch sides! Despite the complete lack of trust on every side, the Heroines come to an arrangement with [SPOILER] for evil to turn on itself while they attack from an unexpected direction, and it works out pretty well, although perhaps only because Akr´ uses Heroic Monologue on the villain's secret weapon (it's super effective!).

With that corner of things tamped down for a while (pending treachery by someone with a known history of betrayal), the Heroines go to look for level-appropriate encounters at another [SPOILER].


Avalon is still sick. :(

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21 October 2017 - Saturday

I did not manage to get up and ready to face the day before the cleaners came, but I did eventually go grocery shopping and not die, so that's good, right?


  • My Little Pony 21-22: That's a remarkably early-20th-century approach to depicting minority cultures. Pity this episode came out in 2010... I wonder how Ken and Ayse will explain the horror to Jus.
  • Durarara!!x2 3.10: Spiral, spiral towards doom!
  • Steven Universe 4.19-24: Augh, cliffhanger! And there are only like 5 episodes of S5 available! Augh!
  • The Ancient Magus' Bride OVA 1: What can I say, we were distracted by the shiny! And the pretty and green and fairies.

Now that I know how much more I need to run Dungeon World, my enthusiasm for hacking it has waned. Perhaps I will stay under this rock forever. (The rock is made of D&D, which is all people want to play.)

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18 October 2017 - Wednesday

No 13th Age, Ken is afflicted with auditors.


Avalon is sick. :(

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17 October 2017 - Tuesday

Ugh, Monday. Even though it's Tuesday. I'd rather sleep in and then game some more, but somehow that doesn't get the bills paid..

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16 October 2017 - Monday

I could probably have made time in my schedule to go to brunch with Carl and Liralen and people, but I was humaned out and still had stuff to do before going back to work, so I just got up and checked out and got on the BART.

Going to Big Bad Con is much more fun than doing laundry and grocery shopping, never mind going to work!


Dungeons & Delvers is a simple D&D-alternative, probably suitable for younger players. All the numbers are small (like 3 hit points to start with, and most attacks do 1, or maybe 2), and the basic mechanic is Cortex Plus-like: stat, skill, circumstance, and every other thing that helps you contributes dice to your roll, and you take the highest two as your value. Every race and class has a bunch of talents that include magical powers: spells are not a separate thing. Also the art is super-duper-deformed. It seems like it could work, but it's no Dungeon World.

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15 October 2017 - Sunday

After two nights of staying up late and sleeping in a strange place, I was not very energetic about getting up for a 9:00 game, but... gaming! Also it was one of the two games I particularly wanted to play, Dungeon World.

The original GM for this timeslot had to bail, I think for work doom, or maybe because HALF THE FUCKING STATE IS BURNING DOWN, but the guy who played the Queen in Friday's Monsterhearts game (who is apparently a friend of Carl's) had volunteered to fill in despite not having any of the original notes. Whatever, no one was that attached to the scenario described on the schedule anyway!

We ended up with a smelly heap of pelts that claimed to be a human barbarian and was all about killing things, a human thief who was all about robbery, a dwarven cleric who was all about fighting (killing was okay, but the conflict was the point), an elven fighter all about glory and honorable combat with his monster-tooth weapon (played by the guy who played the Infernal in Monsterhearts), and my human Blasted Wasteland druid, who was raised by giant isopods.

In a four-hour session, we had enough time to make characters, build a map from index cards, interact with the town a little bit, fight a couple of skirmishes with frogpeople and then have a brief party, travel through a trapped passageway, and have a fight with the evil wizard and his henchman. With the usual amount of intraparty discord, but not much more.

Now that I've seen someone unconnected to me run DW, running well is probably still beyond me, but perhaps I can run a session more smoothly. The lessons I have learned here (which are also applicable to other PbtA games, most likely):

  • When the GM asks someone a question, only that player answers..
  • When the GM asks someone a question, they answer that question, not a different question (and not with pages of detail, either).
  • Use index cards to make the map (which is just the map form of the previous two points).
  • I need to run with the stock playbooks more (maybe a lot more) before I try to get fancy with 3rd-party playbooks from the Internets.
  • When everyone is piled together into one huge fight, it's okay to just go around the table.
  • I need to plan way less. A two-hour session only needs a handful of locations.
  • It is okay for the figher/barbarian to just chop a major opponent in half.

    Then, the final gaming slot of the con! I was not scheduled for this one either, but Gaming on Demand is there for me. I didn't get a good pick this time, though, and ended up playing Fiasco. The player of the 14/10 doggo from Golden Sky Stories yesterday and the Witch from Monsterhearts on Friday were there, but it still turned out only okay. Naturally, I blame myself for not giving my character a strong enough motivation in the first scene. The person she didn't like did get abandoned to the (surviving) drug-maddened penguins as McMurdo Base was evacuated, though.

    End of the con! Well, of the programming. I went to Havana with Carl and Liralen and some of their friends and ate Cuban tapas and seafood paella and listened to them talk about gaming, then back to the hotel to listen to them talk about gaming with different people. I think one of them was the creator of Legend of the Elements (he was cute!), and another told us about feminist games including Bluebeard’s Bride. Eventually, people slept.

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14 October 2017 - Saturday

Unlike the GMs yesterday, the lady who ran Golden Sky Stories was not well-prepared, and did not seem to really know the system even before she added bits to it. But, we managed to have fun anyway, because GSS is a game of adorable animal spirits. Our Cat was a very good cat, who properly spent much time sleeping (especially in front of the TV), our Tanuki was an adorable anime flibbertigibbet, and our Dog was 14/10. I played a Birb, who was not as great, but we managed to help Ikuko get a place on the middle school baseball team despite the Koshien factor. Hurray!

I would like to play GSS with a GM who knows the rules sometime. Maybe next year?

Also, if this is the bar for GMing, maybe I should try running something next year. (Yes, I know that's a terrible idea.)

That game let out at 16:00, so I wandered around the dealers' room (took about three minutes, because I browse slowly), looked in on the Emotional Safety panel, and then finally went to Le Cheval with Liralen and Carl. Clay pot rice FTW!

I hadn't been smart enough to get into a scheduled game of Masks, but the "Gaming on Demand" system offered a Masks game so I went for it, and my card came up early enough that I was victorious!

Only 2/5 of the players had played before, and one of them waffled, so it took us a while to make characters and we only had time for a very short adventure, but it was good. Maybe not for my Delinquent, whose illusion powers didn't work that well on the primitive Nazi robot, but she was able to mess up Iron Flag's sidekick pretty well. It all ended in tears, though, when our Doomed divinated what Iron Flag was going for and that it would help his great enemy, so he rushed ahead to destroy it even though it was an important symbol of interspecies amity from our Outsider's people, and then crushed Iron Flag's CPU casing like a bug even though it caused our Newborn to learn the lesson that humans are just fine with killing robots. Our Outsider came up with a plan to thwart the mastermind, so if there had been a second session, it would have been great.

For a PbtA game, Masks has a lot of moves, but I think I could probably handle it.

BigBadCon by marithlizard (Fri Oct 20 11:02:22 2017)

Yes! You should totally run something next time! You would know the rules and be prepared with quirky NPCs and it would be fine!

Re: BigBadCon by Trip (Fri Oct 20 13:49:24 2017)

It would be terrible and everyone would hate me and post mean things on their blogs after the con!

Re: BigBadCon by marithlizard (Fri Oct 20 14:33:53 2017)

Would not! Also, I bet Liralen and/or Carl would be willing to be in your game, a known friendly player or two can help a lot.

Re: BigBadCon by Trip (Sat Oct 21 14:16:20 2017)

It doesn't work that way, it's whoever signs up on the website first. Carl is never in anyone's game, anyway.

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13 October 2017 - Friday

I had to ride a bus to another bus to BART to another BART to get to the Walnut Creek Marriot, but I did arrive at Big Bad Con in good time and with all my tentacles intact!

The first part of my 10-hour gaming day was Carl's session of Blades in the Dark (daring scoundrels in a haunted electropunk city where it's always night). Besides my Whisper, we had a renegade Iruvian noble Slide, a demon-blooded Cutter who was just there for the murdering, and a lugubrious Hound. Perhaps because I have known the GM for 30 years, I was able to be assertive and push for our crew to be a cult (the worshipers of the Daughter of the Forgotten Sun) and our score to be retrieving the ghost of the recently-shanked top gang leader of the district, whose body had fallen into a canal so his ghost couldn't be rendered down for sweet, sweet electricity. Despite none of us being able to roll for beans during the information gathering phase, so that we had to rescue the Slide and the Hound by running over a bunch of people with our goat cart, we managed to fish up the ghost and even start winning its trust with some downtime project clocks.

(Apparently the developers of both Blades and Apocalypse World agree that Blades is PbtA, so I have no standing to object, but the use of actions instead of moves seems to me to put it out of the category. Whatever!)

Then, off to Monsterhearts 2 ("the messy lives of teenage monsters")! We had the Witch, the Infernal, the Vampire, the Queen (Harmony, with her minions Carol, Cadence, and Harper, and her outcast ex-minion Melody), and my poor doomed Mortal in a rich town in Ohio(?) in 1989, where three of their classmates have recently committed suicide. The GM was well-prepared with many pictures and picture stands, color-coded sticky tabs for strings (with matching scrunchies), and the seating chart with dead people marked in red and missing people in blue. There wasn't a lot of plot, but there was a mystery that was enough to set the PCs in motion, and from there we were entirely capable of working out our own damnation. The Mortal's "true love" was the Vampire, who was well-played as a fairly terrible, yet alluring, person (the player made great vampire faces, she was awesome), and by the end she had to throw herself on him to keep from blood-frenzying all over everyone. This made him become his Darkest Self, so he carried her off to chain her to his bedpost for a while, until he snapped out of it and (in the epilogue) turned her into a vampire to make it up to her. The Infernal sacrificed the guy he was chasing to the demonic entity that lived in his parents' bedroom, and made an alliance with the Queen to get a steady supply of unpopular students. The Witch was involved with the witch-vampire conflict that was sacrificing people and using magic to make it look like suicides, but came out of it pretty okay when the witches won.

All the other players were really good, the Vampire and the Infernal particularly so. The GM was also awesome. I feel that I let the side down! I should have been more aggressive in pursuing the Vampire, I think, and also in freaking out about the weird stuff that happened. Maybe next time.

Ten hours of gaming was not too much, but it's probably good that I didn't stay up even later, given how hard it is to sleep in different places.

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12 October 2017 - Thursday

Instead of packing for Big Bad Con, I watched Deadpool. That is a very silly and morally unedifying movie. Also it has Teenage Negasonic Warhead. And Morena Baccarin!

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11 October 2017 - Wednesday

In this week's episode of 13th Age and Thai food, Brooks and Kelsey wrote up some additional elven agents (a jotun-descended high elf commander and a wood elf monk) investigating the lava-flooded ruins of Axis and we all ended up in a pocket dimension that the Elf Queen had saved from the end of a previous age. At the cliffhanger, the ghosts of dead elves interred in the tree village all rose up to smite the interlopers.

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10 October 2017 - Tuesday

HAPPY HAPPY MARITH-DAY!!


It is the annual Liralendinner at Chef Chu, and public transit is not failing me!

Apparently Liralen has spent the past year playing Team Fortress 2 competitively, because she can do anything.

Christy has't made it in several years, so I did know that her hair is almost entirely silver now! But I didn't get to talk to her, because restaurants are loud and she was way over there.

But it was not as important to meet up with Liralen, because this year I am definitely going to Big Bad Con!

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9 October 2017 - Monday

Today is Columbus Indigenous Peoples Day (why has LA fixed this, but not California overall?) so no work for Arcadia! Instead shopping and Avalon and a flashback episode of Penny Dreadful that gives some hints about how Vanessa is inevitably going to Make Them All Pay.

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8 October 2017 - Sunday

No PAD&D5, only Zuul.


I liked the first two volumes of Gotham Academy quite a lot, but the third one was an anthology kind of thing, with a whole bunch of different writers and artists, who were not quite as good.

I have pretty much decided to rewrite last year's NaNoWriMo for this year, and GA makes me want to make the school my main character goes to a lot creepier and less welcoming. (Really, she needs to suffer a lot more, but I'm not sure how to do it without making her parents unsympathetic.)

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7 October 2017 - Saturday

Like me, Marith didn't get quite all of her stuff out with the movers, but she didn't manually move the rest before the cleaners came to do the final cleaning, and they trashed some stuff that she really liked. They also failed to clean some bits. There was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Eventually we made it to anime, though!

  • Durarara!!x2 3.9: Still impelling everyone toward a massive explosion of doom.
  • Steven Universe 4.7-11: Wow, they successfully humanized Onion! And then returned to the plot with augh!

I finally got around to reading Unsong (Scott Alexander) after Earl recommended it a week or two ago, and it is epically Kabbalicious! With telepathic Biblical whale puns! Also, nothing is ever a coincidence.

Defiance (Joel Shepherd), the fourth book in the "Spiral Wars" series, continues to have the virtues and flaws of the previous books. One group of aliens is shown to have a slightly more diverse culture than we had previously seen. Also, the main character is becoming slightly less sympathetic (or at least disturbingly cavalier about fusion weapons in proximity to civilian populations), and Styx and her people are becoming more so. I wonder if the long character arc is for them to switch completely? If so, it's going to take a while, since the ratio of plot twists to action scenes is not very high. Does the author think he's going to run out of ideas?

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6 October 2017 - Friday

While doing laundry, I watched Pacific Rim. Of course it made the cube-square law cry, and the interface design was highly questionable, but other than that I liked it pretty well. Bonus points for non-romantic relationships! I even liked the monster designs. (Can I have a bioluminescent tongue like a flower with a smaller tongue (also bioluminescent) that extends from it?)

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5 October 2017 - Thursday

My big accomplishment today was getting a flu shot.


Avalon is doing well, although every place she works is full of disorder. I blame capitalism. (I don't blame Avalon, the disorder is pretty clearly pre-existing.)


I'm rethinking switching from Bonds to Flags. I like Flags mostly because, even though players can argue whether any particular action triggers the flag, there's at least no question that the set of actions that trigger a flag exists and there are lots of actions that definitely trigger it. Bonds are better because they connect to two characters, but they aren't as actionable. What does it mean to "resolve" a bond? Who can say? Maybe I just need to change the condition for marking XP for a Bond to be "have you done anything about this Bond in this session?". Maybe that's what it's supposed to be, and I just don't understand it. Blugh.

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4 October 2017 - Wednesday

Brooks and Kelsey both bailed, but the rest of us played 13th Age anyway. Anwë led Vaatu and Ktangs into the land of shadow and carnivorous plants as a shortcut to the ruins of Axis, where she wanted to investigate the howling void that used to be the Elf Queen. Unfortunately, the land of shadow was full of drow explorers (probably using the same Green Blood powers as Anwë although she doesn't know that yet) and some sort of Crusader-oriented freaks, so we just had a couple of fight scenes and will have to do the other stuff some other week.


I did not like Provenance (Ann Leckie) as much as the "Ancillary" books, perhaps because Ingray is not as engaging a narrator as Breq, or perhaps because I am shallow and demand ever-more novelty. It is still quite a fine book, though, and has strange cultures and also alien drama. And spiderbots.


Gear for the Sorcerer (or Wizard) is pretty easy:

           
You start with
☑ dungeon rations
☑ heavy leather coat (1 armor)
☑ backpack
Choose a weapon:
☐ a smallsword (hand, precise)
☐ a ray pistol (hand, reach, near, piercing 1, reload)
☐ a flame pistol(hand, reach, spread, blazing, dangerous, reload)
Choose 3:
☐ several stone tablets of the ancients, covered in glyphs
☐ an astrolabe and sextant
☐ a long breathing tube
☐ mystic hallucinogens (ingested, 3 doses)
☐ bundle of iron darts (3 ammo)
☐ 30' rope, knotted for climbing, with a weight on the end
☐ a fine silver hand mirror
☐ a humane trap and bait appealing to a variety of animals up to fox-sized (3 uses)
☐ alchemical paste that produces a thick column of smoke when burned (3 uses)
☐ books on a variety of topics (5 uses)

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3 October 2017 - Tuesday

I have Pacific Rim from Netflix, but watching a movie requires me to get my act together to start watching by 20:00, which I often don't. So instead I watched Penny Dreadful 2.1, which introduces a new threat, with additional nudity and doom. Also the continuation of some stuff from last season that will surely not upset anyone when it inevitably comes to light.


The Alignments for the stock Wizard are:

Good
Use magic to directly aid another.

Neutral
Discover something about a magical mystery.

Evil
Use magic to cause terror and fear.

Someone longer-winded and less fluent in English converted the stock playbooks to use Drive/Background instead of Alignment/Race, and that one has the Drives:

Power Overwhelming
Uniquely destroy or drastically change something significant with magic single handedly.

Esoteric Bliss
Willfully experiment with and dabble in magic despite grave consequences to broaden your magical knowledge.

That Which Is Lost
Discover a hidden magical artifact, long lost arcane knowledge, or some spell that no one has used in hundreds of years.

Of the two sets, I like the alignment ones better. They're more concise, more likely to come up, and not as tied to scholarship/research.

Drive Choose one:
Curiosity
Discover something about a magical mystery.
Responsibility
Use your magic to better someone's life.
Supremacy
Use your magic to cow and enslave those without.

The racial and background abilities from the same two sources are:

Elf
Magic is as natural as breath to you. Detect Magic is a cantrip for you.

Human
Choose one cleric spell. You can cast it as if it were a wizard spell.

Hedge Wizard
You are self-taught, spending much of your time in seclusion with trial and error in your quest for magical power. When using Ritual, choose two of the options. These options may never be used by the GM as a requirement.

Archmage Academy
Your skills took many years under the greatest minds and oldest tomes collected, though you have little experience of the outside world. When using Discern Realities, you may also ask for free "What hidden magical nature exists?"

War Wizard
You were trained by brutal commanders, and your knack is on the battlefield in the thick of combat. When you Cast A Spell in the thick of battle, on a 12+ you strike fear into the hearts of lesser enemies nearby who will cower, break rank, or take a defensive position.

The flavor text doesn't apply, and since the new Wizard doesn't have the Ritual or Cast a Spell moves, or the Detect Magic spell, or other spell-using classes, most of the abilities don't work either. The one possible exception is the Archmage Academy ability, although it would need to be carefully worded to avoid revealing all the secrets. Time to make up more terrible stuff, I guess.

Background Choose one:
Prodigy
You learned your first spell as a baby, or even before. Choose one more of your starting spells to be the first spell you remember learning. It gains the same benefit as your first spell.
Apprentice
You were mentored by another mage, so you have some exposure to magic other than your own. When you discern realities, add this question to the list: "What here is magical?"
Hidden
You have had to hide your magic from those who do not understand. Your spells do not produce any spectacle, such that they may not even seem like magic, and where the effects are blatantly supernatural, they are not obviously connected to you.

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2 October 2017 - Monday

I meant to be useful today, but instead watched the last episode of Penny Dreadful S1. I'm not sure about that characterization, but that plot thread was wrapped up while another two (at least) were opened.


Now that I'm caught up on daily blogging, I should write more WFDW. I still need to address drives and backgrounds, gear, and advanced moves for the Sorcerer (Wizard? still can't decide), and flags for everyone. And then move on to other classes. Maybe I'll take a nap instead.

Oh, but Cavaliers of Mars apparently has "flintlasers", so I can totally have black powder ray guns. And maybe flame guns, because attacks with the dangerous tag are best.

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1 October 2017 - Sunday

HAPPY HAPPY JUS-DAY!!

After assorted delays, we celebrated by taking Jus to Morgan Hill Pumpkin Park and Yuki Sushi. The same number of people left the corn maze as entered, which is about the most you can reasonably hope for, right?

Then I went home to see Avalon instead of going to Monkeycat Mountain for unhealthy cake.


Avalon has to log off three hours earlier than would otherwise be the case, because time zones are still inexplicably a thing, so I had time to watch Penny Dreadful 7. Wait, was it Chandler who did the thing? Why would that even work? I haz a confuze.

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30 September 2017 - Saturday

Not only did I get up early to go grocery shopping, I made it to Marith's to help her pack some stuff into boxes for moving! Also she showed me her Minecraft world, which is very pretty.

Then we went over to Monkeycat Mountain and had really good lamb tagine and watched some anime.

  • Durarara!!x2 3.8: Things are obviously spiraling in to some kind of doomfilled conclusion, not just to the season but the whole series.
  • Steven Universe 4.1-6: More plot! More Connie! More Beach City! With bonus meditation! And Pearl being adorably awesome, or awesomely adorable! This is such a good show.

But after Ayse finished buying all the episodes on Netflix so we could finish watching six episodes despite Dave's bootleg files being corrupt, it was time to sleep.

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29 September 2017 - Friday

No Avalon, only lethargy. And laundry.


In The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (FC Yee), two characters from The Journey to the West meet again in the modern Bay Area. One of them is a Chinese-American high school girl, and the other is trouble. Demons ensue. They are not the characters you would necessarily expect, which is awesome, and it is a pretty entertaining book.

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28 September 2017 - Thursday

Somehow, I escaped Tumblr in time to watch Jupiter Ascending. It's clearly in the same genre as Guardians of the Galaxy, although the spaceships with unattached parts remind me a little of Tenchi Muyo. I cannot say it was a good movie on most axes (like plot, or worldbuilding), but it was pretty to look at. Or maybe I'm just thinking of the female alien overlord (played by Tuppence Middleton) and her smile. Surely it would be okay to give her half of Earth?

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27 September 2017 - Wednesday

No 13th Age, only scheduling conflicts. But on the other tentacle, Avalon!


Penny Dreadful 6 has more doom. Well, every episode has doom, but this one has bonus character death.

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26 September 2017 - Tuesday

No Avalon! But it is because family, not because work.


Episode 5 of Penny Dreadful is a flashback to how Ives Ruined Everything. Without denying women their sexual agency, I think it's safe to say that [SPOILER]ing [SPOILER] is not often an ideal life choice.


It occurs to me that my analysis of stock Wizard vs new Wizard (Sorcerer?) neglects the faint possibility of characters leveling up. At 5th level, the Sorcerer has seven spells available at the start of each day, and they don't necessarily risk them with each casting, while the stock Wizard still has only two or three spells, and has to roll for each casting. That's less similar, but I don't know whether it's a problem. The Wizard can swap spells without too much difficulty, and those spells are probably more powerful than the Sorcerer's, especially in terms of damage. This is where playtesting would come in useful.

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25 September 2017 - Monday

Penny Dreadful 4. Wow, boysmooches. And not the ones I would have expected, either.


Hey, look, advice on making new DW playbooks (from the creator of A Sundered World, which is not perfect but actually exists, so is better than anything I do). I am, naturally, doing everything wrong with the Wizard, but will carry on.

Speaking of which, the way the Wizard is currently written, they start each day with three spells that they can cast as often as they like, at least until the GM starts exhausting or wounding spells for 6- rolls. In comparison, the stock Wizard starts with two spells available, and risks losing them every time they cast, but also gets cantrips (which may or may not be risky when cast). I guess this is comparable?

Should I rename the class the Sorcerer? It's really not very wizard-like, at least to people from D&D-land. Also if I use the new stats, it's not based on Wisdom anymore.

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24 September 2017 - Sunday

Today, I suck! But at least I got to see Avalon.


I have no layout power, but the elements that go into a Weird Fantasy Dungeon World playbook like the Wizard are these.

Name: The lists on stock DW playbooks are pretty generic, for obvious reasons. How non-generic a list I want to make depends on how much of the setting I want to pre-define, I guess. Or I could leave it blank, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has trouble coming up with names.

Look: Wizards aren't a standardized thing like in Generic D&D-Land, so the hat and robes elements don't work as well. Also, I am torn between wanting to add a Mutation field to this and wanting to have only cute characters. Maybe if I choose the mutations very carefully...

Stats: Regardless of whether I stick with D&D stats or switch to the personality-based stats, these are going to be pretty much the same as in DW. Unless I get rid of the 3-18 scale, but not much different even then.

Damage Die: I was thinking of giving the Fighter their d10 only with their signature weapon, so I could give the Wizard a d6 with spells (since there aren't any spells that do do their own damage, they all just let the Wizard deal their damage) and the usual d4 normally. Does that disadvantage the Wizard too much if they don't happen to get a damage-dealing spell to start with?

Armor: Just a spot to write down the value that comes from the choice of Gear.

Vigor: Base HP for a stock wizard is 4, so add half of that to 6, and Vigor is 8+CON. Unless I use the new stats, in which case it's 8+AGG

Health: 8+CON, or 8+TEN (no, not eighteen!). I seem to be talking myself into the new stats.

Drive: The less D&D-compliant version of Alignment, a choice of three things that get you XP at the end of the session if you did them. Usually it's help people by doing your class thing, hurt people by doing your class thing, or do your class thing for its own sake.

Background: Everyone is human, so race is irrelevant. And background, as used by those playbooks that use it, is generally more about how you got to be the Whatever, not your original origins. It still gives you a choice of two or three minor moves or modifiers to other moves.

Bonds: I sort of want to use flags instead. The point in that article about flags not changing much is not a big deal, flags can be swapped out when they aren't relevant any more. But it would mean coming up with approximately ten jillion possible flags. (Only three or four possible bonds for a character seems okay, but not only three or four flags.) I suppose the flags don't have to be linked to any one character, though, so I could have fewer than N times the number of playbooks and let players choose or roll from the list. But I still need a list.

Starting Moves: Starting Spells, Recieve a Spell, Take a Spell, Push a Spell. That's probably enough.

Level: I don't see any reason to change the range 1-10. If I had ever run DW that far and seen how players react to reaching level 10, perhaps I would, but that doesn't seem likely to ever happen.

XP: I am thinking about increasing the amount of XP it takes to level up, just because it seems like DW characters level up really fast. On the other hand, that might be because I'm a terrible GM, and also because when a big chunk of XP is awarded at the end of each session, playing a whole bunch of little tiny sessions really boosts that. So I don't know.

Load: Or rather, inventory, since we're switching from enumbrance-limited to slot-limited. I'm not sure which, if any, new stat would give you more inventory space, so maybe it's just a flat six slots for each character. Or five to seven depending on the load rating in DW?

Gear: Since having a damaging spell isn't guaranteed, maybe a little more emphasis on weapons.

Advanced Moves: This is the hard part, or maybe second hardest part after the spell list in the Wizard's case. A lot of the stock Wizard advanced moves are about being the educated smartypants, or about learning magic stuff, neither of which applies, but some of them seem usable.

I meant to fill these in a lot more, but this is taking too long to write. Perils of combining it with my normal blog, I guess. Maybe I should break it out into its own blog like I did with Age of the Black Sun a while fifteen fucking years ago.

Ugh, I am a Oldz. And not a useful one, either.

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23 September 2017 - Saturday

I managed to get up and showered before the cleaners arrived today, so I was able to shop at a reasonable hour and get home to sign up for more indie games at Big Bad Con. Yay, Golden Sky Stories! (I will be awful at it, but at least it is a new thing.)


Earl and Cat were not dead, so they came over and drank with Ken and Ayse.

  • Nirvana in Fire 24-25: Now that [SPOILER] has been disposed of, the plotting and scheming can return to normal!
  • Steven Universe 3.20-25: We tried to only watch five, since that is how many we need to preview for Jus for the coming week, but augh! That was not a place we could stop! Jus would explode if that were the last one she got to see!

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22 September 2017 - Friday

I finally got around to watching Mad Max: Fury Road, which I had to resubscribe to Netflix DVD service to see (there are a lot of movies I am somewhat interested in, which are not streamable yet.) I haven't seen the previous movies, only absorbed their essence through the cultural miasma, so perhaps I was not ideally prepared to appreciate it, but it didn't really grab me. I also didn't see any of the deep sociological or psychological stuff that Tumblr found in the movie. So, I think I fail at enlightened movie-watching. On the other hand, I did wonder, based on the extreme redness of the world, whether it was actually set on Barsoom, which is a thought I didn't see on Tumblr. (But Barsoom is actually more hospitable.)

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21 September 2017 - Thursday

Avalon's new job is failing at letting her have more time in the evenings! Hmph! Protest!

Instead I watched another Penny Dreadful, which the good highly sketchy doctor's pigeons come home to roost. Some people just don't have the mental fortitude to play god.


I picked up Akashic Record of Bastard Magic Instructor vol 1 (Hitsuji Tarou, Tsunemi Aosa, Kurone Mishima) because "Akashic Record" is an obscure cool term, but alas it is not being used to good effect. It's pretty much magic school anime crossed with Great Teacher Onizuka. Okay, not quite, but not enough different to be very interesting.

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20 September 2017 - Wednesday

Second half of the big flashback fight in 13th Age! Icons everywhere, but the one who gets stabbed by Goblin Bond is Anwë's (of course), and the Elf Queen is revealed to be a howling void of soul-sucking. Then all the PCs get murderized and the entire palace is eaten by the Devourer. The End!

Next week, we resume present time, trying to get all the maguffins to kill the Devourer. Or maybe Anwë throws herself into a volcano, because jeez.


Some more evocative(?) phrases/(adventure/story titles):

  • The Poison Daughter's Lovers
  • The Silver in the Bee-Hills
  • The Groom of the Sea
  • Baron Ulderfoy's Howling Bronze
  • The Dead Walking on the Sea of Mist
  • Groom-Bride of the Snail God
  • Sentenced to Wed the Sea
  • Well of Corrupted Stars

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19 September 2017 - Tuesday

The company tech talk on how the frontend people use clever CSS packages to make our browser interface pretty made me want to learn CSS and make my blog less boring, but the impulse passed quickly.


More Penny Dreadful. Some people should just not be invited to seances. Also, flesh golem dick.


Speaking of stats, the 3-18 range is also pretty iconic, but it isn't really used much in DW. In fact, the only thing it's used for is hit points which I'm replacing so it's not used at all! But on the other hand, saying "You get one tick per level up, and raising a stat by one takes 5 - new_value ticks" might not reduce the complexity all that much. Decisioning: still hard!

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18 September 2017 - Monday

Bah, Monday.

For lack of anything better to do while eating dinner (not enough tentacles!) I watched the first episode of Penny Dreadful on Netflix. It was pretty much as advertised, with extra boinking.


Speaking of all the Wizard moves that say "roll+WIS", I understand why Dungeon World uses the D&D stats: the six stats are almost as iconic as the four basic classes, or maybe more so given how many games use them with little variation. But, I really think that PbtA games like Masks and Monsterhearts did the right thing in following Apocalypse World's lead of making the stats all personality-based. Is there some compromise? It seems like swapping Strength out for Aggression would require almost no changes at all, ditto Constitution for... Determination? Mettle? Resolution? Tenacity? I think I like Tenacity best, but the others would work too. Intelligence and Charisma are probably fine as-is. Dexterity and Wisdom are both trickier, but can be recombined into two different stats. Focus has the active parts of Dexterity – picking locks, volley – but also mental focus, so all those "roll+WIS" moves in the Wizard would turn into "roll+FOC". Awareness is discern realities as well as the reactive parts of Dexterity (IE, defy danger).

So, Aggression, Focus, Tenacity, Intelligence, Awareness, Charisma? Too much of a change from D&D? Not enough of a change?

(I also thought about using elemental names for personality stats (Metal, Water, Earth, Air, Wood, Fire) but that's too obscure and pretentious.)

Personality stats by marithlizard (Mon Sep 25 22:29:39 2017)

But, how cool would it be to be able to say, "So...the druid is metal as fuck, the paladin's kind of wooden, and the cleric is a bit too airy about choice of spells for the primary healer. Why should I hire your party again?"

"Because when the combat starts, trust me, we're ALL on Fire."

Re: personality stats by marithlizard (Mon Sep 25 22:30:56 2017)

Also, you say 'obscure and pretentious' like it's a bad thing!

Re: personality stats by Trip (Tue Sep 26 11:11:58 2017)

Well, i was thinking Strength/Aggression would be Metal, so it would be the fighter or barbarian who would be Metal AF, but yes. Aggression = Metal, Focus = Water, Tenacity = Earth, Intelligence = Air, Awareness = Wood, Fire = Charisma.

Immortal put me off pretentious and obscure terminology long ago.

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17 September 2017 - Sunday

Today I was not early-rising and productive, although I did get a bunch of gaming books, and some manga, moved onto the appropriate bookcases. Poor Aspen is having her fortress of coffee table plus unsorted book piles dismantled! But it's getting toward the time of year when the closet with the heating pad might be more appealing anyway.


I could noodle with ideas for WFDW indefinitely, but even though it is a doomed project that can never go anywhere, I should probably try to make one character class relatively complete. So, time for a spell list for the Wizard! There are three classes of spells: ones you can start with at level 1, ones you can get at levels 2-5, and ones you can get at levels 6-10. The first two classes might be the same, not sure yet.

Level 1-5 spells:

  1. Cloud Ladder - You can climb on smoke or thick mist, although it's not the most stable of paths.
  2. Command Animal - A nearby animal (not monster or supernatural creature) will do your bidding, to the extent of its abilities and self-preservation instincts. It understands your orders, but does not gain any ability to reason or communicate. If left unsupervised, it will eventually go back to what it was doing.
  3. Consume Likeness - You can transform your body to be exactly like a fellow human's by consuming an ounce of their blood or a fingernail-sized scrap of their flesh. The transformation lasts until you decide to end it, or you transform again.
  4. Fiery Eyes - You can make your eyes glow brightly, illuminating out to near range in front of you, and can ignite things by focusing your gaze on them (close, reach, blazing if used as an attack).
  5. Invisibility - You (and your clothes and equipment) can turn invisible. This lasts for an hour at most, and ends if you do any magic, or are affected by any magic. The spell is always exhausted afterwards.
  6. Ray of Magnetism - You can project an invisible ray of magnetic force from your hand that attracts or repels one iron or steel object within near range, as strongly as a person could pull or push. If you have ferrous objects handy, you can use this to volley with the tags reach and near (add far if you have actual arrows or the like).
  7. Rope Trick - Throw a rope or chain up in the air to snag a hut-sized pocket dimension that people can climb into. You or anyone inside can shrink the opening down to 1", and even pull up the rope. The pocket dimension collapses, expelling all within, after half a day or so.
  8. Song of the Lamp-Eft - Summons a number of small, brightly glowing lamp-efts equal to your WIS. They will drift through the air or cling to things as you direct while you are near, but might get distracted if you leave them behind. They will disappear if exposed to a candle's worth or more of non-lamp-eft light.
  9. Spirit Mirror - You can see invisible spirits, ghosts, fairies, etc in reflective surfaces. You can use the spell to compel one to speak to you, but that will enrage or drive away any others. When you do, roll+WIS. On 10+ hold 3, on 7-9- hold 2, on 6- hold 1 in addition to whatever the GM says. Spend this hold 1-for-1 to make the subject truthfully answer one question; when it's all spent, the spell is exhausted.
  10. Tortoise Shell - Solidifies air into a 5' hemisphere that weighs only a few pounds but is as strong as steel armor. The hemisphere will dissolve back into regular air within a few hours.
  11. Web - The area within reach of your nearby target point is filled with thick spiderwebs. If there are no walls or ceiling to support, the webs will collapse, but everyone there will still be enmeshed.
  12. Wisdom of the Dead - The ghost you name will come for fresh, warm blood. Each of these amounts of blood counts as one unit: 1d4 damage to yourself, 1d8 damage to someone you share a bond with, all the blood from someone you don't share a bond with, all the blood from an animal the size of a bull. You need at least three units, for the three gates to the afterlife. Roll + the extra units of blood. On a 10+ hold 3, on a 7-9 hold 2, on a 6- hold 1 anyway. Spend this hold 1-for-1 to get an honest answer from the ghost.

Level 6-10 spells:

  1. Chariot of Winds - You and additional people up to your WIS are borne away atop a whirlwind. It only travels as fast as a horse, but can cross mud, water, rough ground, and even steep slopes without slowing. While on the whirlwind, you are out of reach of people on the ground, but still near them.
  2. Crusading Disk - Choose how many d4s of damage you will take: that total is how many days this whirling disk of pure, saw-edged hate will spend hunting down your enemies, even after your death. It can see in the dark, but otherwise has only human senses to find and identify people by the criteria you give it (it can't target members of an organization, only wearers of a uniform), and it is vulnerable to weapons and magic, but it flies in zigzags as fast as a thrown dagger.
  3. Curse of the Black Flame - Roll+WIS to set someone alight with a black flame, fuelled by their life force, that will ignite anyone who gets too close to them. On a 10+, your target bursts into flame so fast that everyone within reach of them also catches fire. On a 7-9, they ignite slowly enough that no one else is caught.
  4. Grasping Light - Everything within reach of a nearby target point is bathed in sunlight. The light clings like quicksand, trapping and pulling in those it illuminates. You can only have one zone of light at a time.
  5. Magnetic Pillar - A pillar of black iron erupts from the earth at a target point within far range of you and draws in magnetic metals. At far range from the pillar, the force is about equal to the metal's weight; within near range, it's several times as much, and within reach of the pillar it's nearly irresistable. You can only have one pillar active at a time.
  6. Move Earth - You can cause earth (even hard-packed and sun-dried, but not solid stone) with near range of you to move around like a swarm of ants. For each minute that you spend concentrating, you can make one 10' cube of earth move into an adjacent 10' cube. This spell becomes exhausted when you stop concentrating.
  7. Phantasmal Guard - Roll+WIS. On 10+, pick three nearby targets or one far away target. On 7-9, pick one nearby target. Each target is attacked by an illusionary monster drawn from your deepest fears. Although the monsters exist only in the targets' minds, they are real enough to cause psychosomatic damage. Deal your damage to each target (ignores armor), and then again the next time they attack you or move toward you.
  8. Phoenix Wings - Your arms turn into wings of flame. You can fly faster than a running horse, and use your wings to hack and slash (with the tags hand, reach, dangerous, blazing).
  9. Raise Dead - Name a person whose grave is in the area and roll+WIS. On a 7+, the named person rises from their grave. On a 9-, others rise. The dead always hunger for the flesh of the living, and speak only in the tongue of Lamentation.
  10. Shadow Well - Roll+WIS to make the target fall through their own shadow into a nightmare world. On 10+, they are trapped there until they find some way out. On 7-9, they will be able to escape within a few minutes, but not unharmed: do your damage to them twice, the first roll ignoring armor. On 6-, one shadow is much the same as another...
  11. Skeletal Deliquescence - Roll+WIS to turn someone's bones to jelly, transforming them into an ooze-like creature. On 7-9, they can regrow their bones on their own in a few minutes, but on 10+, they're stuck until you use this spell to restore them. While boneless, they can crawl around slowly and squeeze through spaces as small as an inch, but cannot physically attack or defend themselves, and can only speak in a hideous bubbling whisper.
  12. Song of Opening - When you are at a magic portal, to Faerie or a hidden realm or just somewhere distant, you can experimentally determine the mystic resonances to open it. Roll+WIS. On 10+, the portal opens and stays open as long as you're there to keep it open. On 7-9, it only opens for a moment.

That's only 24 spells total, which is not as many as stock DW has, but is probably enough for a start.

I originally had the spell Magic Circle (to exclude/contain supernatural creatures and influences) in the list, but had to take it out again when I realized that I'm not sure how to implement it. Should the circle be absolute, so that the Wizard can block an archdemon even at 1st level? Or should it be a battle of magical strength vs magical strength? Either one can be justified in genre, I think, but they have play differently, and the second one probably needs some way to quantify magical strength. Decisioning is hard!

Rope Trick has some real-world baggage, but when I tried to come up with an equivalent Pocket Dimesion spell it was kind of meh.

It's intentional that spells like Invisibility and Phoenix Wings affect only the caster; I don't want to replicate the buff-fests of D&D3E. Possibly it's too restrictive, but we'll see. (Well, we would see, if there were ever going to be playtesting.)

A general spellcasting move doesn't seem to be necessary: a lot of spells just give you fictional positioning to make other moves (mostly defy danger, of course), and spells that need risk are their own moves. (Technically all spells are their own moves, but you know what I mean.) Here's a move for when the Wizard tries to be even riskier than that:

PUSH A SPELL
When you force a spell to reach further, last longer, or otherwise have a greater effect, roll+WIS. On 10+, the spell does what you ask of it, but then becomes exhausted (cannot be used until you take a breather). On 7-9, choose one: the spell does what you ask of it but then becomes wounded (cannot be used until you make camp), or it fails and becomes exhausted in the attempt. On 6-, the spell becomes wounded in addition to whatever else the GM says.

And just to be clear:

TAKE A BEATHER
When you spend a few minutes resting and recovering, regain all your Vigor.

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16 September 2017 - Saturday

I managed to get up at a reasonable hour and go shopping so that I was back home in time to sign up for games at Big Bad Con when registration opened at noon. They have an anti-hovering system where you can only sign up for two events in the first week, then two in the second week, and only then does it become a free-for-all, but it was a good impetus to not sleep in. Now I am signed up to play in two games with systems I am interested in (Blades in the Dark and Monsterhearts) , both on Friday. I am also signed up for ten straight hours of gaming, so I will need to find some kind of decent portable meal substitute before then...

Also, since I successfully signed up for games, I went ahead and got a hotel room, since although commuting back and forth to Walnut Creek might technically be possible, it would suck massively.


We had to cut anime a little short because Marith has to be at work at 6:00 tomorrow, and got a slow start on new stuff because we wanted to catch her up on the important episodes she missed in Roseville, but there was still some watching.

  • Durarara!!x2 3.7: Apologies to the shippers, but can Shizuo please twist Izaya's head off now?
  • Steven Universe 3.15-19: Back to the plot! And Connie!

Durarara by marithlizard (Tue Sep 19 14:06:58 2017)

You have to wonder how an entire steam shovel got shoved off the top of a building there. Badly Dressed Martial Arts Girl certainly couldn't have done it by herself. Also, to me the villainous plan looks a lot less like the claimed "get rid of the monster" than it does "push the monster into finally getting serious". So maybe you'll get your wish!

Re: Durarara by Trip (Tue Sep 19 18:40:30 2017)

It looked to me like whatever was supporting it got broken so it slid off.

We can hope!

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15 September 2017 - Friday

Apparently the meaning someone deciphered for the neural net spell with the silliest name is something I had already established as an option for the Wizard, so um something? I'm going to call it a victory, anyway.

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14 September 2017 - Thursday

Watched a couple more episodes of Little Witch Academia, which would be better if it were subbed.


While I was trying to think of spells, I found this list. Death of the sun! Grasping light and clinging blade! Plant of peace! Crusading disk!

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13 September 2017 - Wednesday

Today we actually played 13th Age, although we were quite late getting started and then spent a long time floundering without a battlemap before getting to the fight (still without a map). We need more organization, or discipline, or something. Also we need to not play until 22:30, but at least next week we can start the round with escalation die 2, and maybe I will remember to have Anwë use her AoE attack on the ancient orc archer she just stabbed, and the Black, who just disemboweled her shadow. Not that I will ever roll well enough to hit anyone.

I'm pretty sure this is a freakish minority opinion, but I still like Dungeon World better than even simplified D&D4.

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12 September 2017 - Tuesday

Instead of the other various ways I could have frittered my life away, I finished Stranger Things. It was pretty swell, and leaves plenty of room for a second season (due out just before Halloween, allegedly). I'm really not sure about the police chief's approach to things, though.

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11 September 2017 - Monday

Wow, thunder! And even some visible lightning! Also some rain, which came down hard while I was walking home but only for a few minutes. As a computer user I probably shouldn't approve of thunderstorms, but I do anyway.

From the slowness at work, I deduce that all our customers are on the East Coast (and thus underwater) or the West Coast (and thus on fire).


Episode 1.6 of Stranger Things! I think most of the pieces are on the board (on one side or another) now, which means it's time for a plot twist.


Besides what people used to D&D and its derivatives think of spells, I want casters to be able to learn the kinds of things I talked about when discussing the contributions of knowledge from beyond to human society: making magic swords, building cyclopean architecture, raising plant monsters to serve you, converting your friends into a more durable form, creating accounting systems that infallibly expose embezzlers, etc. This is tricky, though, because it has to be useful enough to be worth the character's time, yet not so useful that all characters immediately get huge bonuses (although this is less of a problem in DW, where we mock your puny level-appropriate encounters, and especially in WFDW where we explicitly mock your puny list of monsters anyway).

Speaking of making things, I am still waffling on whether there should be alchemy stuff, although possibly only because I want to put in single-shot black powder alchemical lasers instead of historical guns. I like them, I'm not sure if they're too weird, the wrong weird, or perfectly valid weird. (At DW levels of resolution, they're mechanically the same.)

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10 September 2017 - Sunday

In this week's PAD&D5, the Heroines of Red Larch managed to get to the big city and buy a few pretty dresses for Lam (also a couple of magic items) and report to the Legitimate Authorities about the dragon drama and the new religion and the war against the [SPOILER]. Lam has disquieting dreams about [SPOILER] being cut off, and when she talks to people in Yartar that it might apply to, it seems to be coming true. Maybe [SPOILER]'s prophecies of doom were not so off the mark as the Heroines first assumed!

On their way to report their experiences to Rimardo's patron, the Heroines are ambushed by the original [SPOILER] of the area, who are extremely annoying but not uncrushable even when they hide in [SPOILER]. Then Rimardo dumps his patron, and his soul is sucked into the afterlife so he can study up and become a cleric of the Crystal Dragon (but he still ranks lower than the Ninja Popesses). This only takes a few moments of external time, so soon the Heroines (and Rimardo, but not Ishmael the hireling cleric) are scouting the [SPOILER] they assaulted so effectively before. The part they cleaned out is still deserted, but the next level has a swarm of [SPOILER], or maybe two competing swarms, but neither is very effective except at getting beaten up and fleeing. So much for attacking with surprise!

Sadly, we had no Hazel, so we were down one ninja and one miniature giant elk. Also we were kind of lethargic. I blame that Trip guy, he's just no good.

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9 September 2017 - Saturday

We tried to catch Marith up on the Steven Universe she missed in Roseville, but she decided it was more important to catch up on surprise Nirvana in Fire, which is fair.

  • Nirvana in Fire 22-23: Still all fallout from the Worst Birthday Party Ever. Gee, do you think maybe Mei Chang Su is a terrifying manipulative person?

After Earl and Cat toddled away sleepily, full of BLTs and intrigue, Marith and Dave and Ayse and Ken and I watched some SU so that Jus can watch it during the coming week and not EXPLODE.

  • Steven Universe 3.11-14: These episodes are lighter and more town-focused, I guess for contrast after "Mr. Greg". The Gems hardly appear at all, but at least we get one episode with Connie.

It's not a week ending in Sunday if I don't blather incoherently about gaming!

Knowing what kind of spells I don't want for WFDW doesn't tell me what spells to actually have. The Wizard should be easiest, since she doesn't have to have a theme (she finds or is given spells individually, they aren't related to some field of actual knowledge). But, I really don't want to give the player the list of every possible spell and have them start optimizing. In GM mode, I could just customize the spell list for the Wizard I have, but what about Designer mode? Some kind of tree/prerequisites? No, that just makes the optimization start with the selection of the first spell. Too much work for me. Random spells? Or player chooses one of three spells presented by the GM (rolled with optional fudging)?

It looks like the stock Wizard and Cleric have about 30ish spells total, from level 0 to level 9. I can probably come up with that many spells as long as they don't have to be related.

But what about sorting them into level 1 vs level 9, or more painfully, level 7 vs level 9? Is spell levels even a thing that's worth preserving from D&D? I guess I can see not wanting some abilities (flight? teleportation? area attacks?) until higher levels, but the DW power curve is generally very flat. At most I can see putting some spells off until level 6-10, just like the advanced moves.

I write too slowly.

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8 September 2017 - Friday

Did I accomplish anything at work today? No, no I did not. Because I suck.


More disordered Weird Fantasy Dungeon World thoughts.

Rather than adding up weight values, I tend toward a simpler slot-based encumbrance system: you get about 5+CON slots to carry items in. Most weapons, shields, torches, etc take a slot, armor takes a slot or two if it's heavy, and most importantly, a backpack or bag takes a slot. If you want to get at something that isn't in a slot by itself, you're going to be making defy danger rolls if anything else is going on.

Another possible background for humans:

The Wandering Kingdom began as the court of an ordinary, stationary kingdom, but made the mistake of boasting that their palace was better than Queen Mab's. Now they are cursed to never sleep twice in the same place, and must wander the world. The lesser members of the Kingdom can return to the same building after a lunar month or so, and the middle ranks follow cycles a year or three long, but for the King and Queen, never means never.

Travellers are always accused of theft, witchcraft, lewdness, and other crimes, but the Wandering Kingdom holds to its notions of honor and others mostly recognize that, even if they laugh at the equally archaic costumes and modes of speech, and the Wandering Knights are respected by all travellers for the work they do in keeping the roads less dangerous.

Writing that made me aware of the tension between the two roles I'm acting in: designer and GM. The difference is that the GM gets to make up setting details, but the designer only gets to evoke the genre. Although, hm, looking at The Last Days of Anglekite, The Green Law of Varkith, and The Cold Ruins of Lastlife, the variant genre is evoked with setting details. Still plenty of blanks, but there is some structure to the map.

I dunno, man. Gaming is hard. Maybe I should stay under this rock. With the crawling dead and tentacled monsters from the stars that whisper things.

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7 September 2017 - Thursday

Today, I watched two episodes of Stranger Things! I am a video-watching fiend!

That is not what I expected to happen with that corpse. Or with that makeover.


Have I been reduced to random thoughts, because having to come up with actual spell lists (or whatever it is that the Hierophant and the Warlock get) is too much like work? Well, so be it.

One of the standard spells that especially needs to be thrown out is animate dead. When the dead rise from their graves, hungering for the flesh (blood, souls, etc) of the living, that's awesome. When any spellcaster can recycle dead enemies as safe and obedient meat robots for 50gp each, that is not awesome. (It's efficient, which is appropriate for many D&D-based subgenres, but not this one.)

On the subject of monsters, do I really want fairies? They seem cool in Pernicious Albion but are they actually cool? Maybe they're too much like humans, or too Monster-Manually (unicorn, dryad, pixie, spriggan, blah blah). But is it good to have something magical that's at least vaguely natural, or at least not tentacles from beyond the stars? And fairies can be creepy and horrific, and could in theory all be unique. I don't even have to explain what they are, since "draw maps, leave blanks" applies to cosmology as well as geography...

And what about demons and angels (probably the same thing (as each other, not as fairies, although...))? Maybe only the lowest, least abstract angels are enough like humans to make a contract with the Warlock. Still need a list of patrons, though.

Also need a list of strange gods for the Hierophant to worship. The only one I have so far is the god of snails, hermaphrodites, bisexuals, halfbreeds, and others who embrace or embody the power of AND, and I'm not sure what magic that actually gets a worshipper, or what geases it puts on them. Also considering falling stars, standing stones, and carnivorous flora, but likewise. Should I go for something more straightforward and combative, like Babeester Gor?

strange gods by marithlizard (Sat Sep 9 11:49:05 2017)

I love the idea of a god who embraces the power of AND - what about the hierophant pantheon being structured around linguistic/grammar concepts?

  • The AND god gives you the power to symbolically align or attach things - at low levels, only ones that frequently go together in common phrases or cliches, but at high levels maybe almsot anything. I'm not sure if this could work like alchemical fusion or more like synchronicity powers (what was the Ars Magica term forthat?) "I have peanut butter, and bread. I will make a peanut butter sandwich and the act of doing so will cause a jar of jelly to turn up in the near vicinity." Also, some possiblities for love/proximity/partnership and other mental manipulation spells. Other possible ways to and: shadows, mirrors. "Me? I'm just Bert. But ever since I met that guy, whenever I look in the mirror, there's an Ernie with me."
  • The OR god is the god of yin and yang, of finding divisions and categorizations and enhancing them. Also alternatives. "Put the weapon down." "I could do that, OR..." For physical manipulation at high levels, maybe something like ore separation?
  • The BUT god is not amused when you make those lame jokes about it. Its domain is limitations, and grants devotees the ability to maneuver in verbal judo. I cannot NO your statement, but I can add a BUT to it that will largely nullify it in the ways I care about, if I'm clever enough.
But, I might simply need more sleep and be babbling.

Re: strange gods by Trip (Mon Sep 11 14:28:54 2017)

That is an excellent idea, but too symmetric and clean and meta for this game. There is a pantheon, kind of, but the Hierophant's options should all be weird corner ones.

Re: strange gods by marithlizard (Mon Sep 11 19:28:09 2017)

Fortunately, grammar and linguistics are not short of weird corner cases!

Re: strange gods by Trip (Thu Sep 14 11:35:20 2017)

This is true, and I encourage you to write a NaNoWriMo about a world with grammar-based divine magic!

Make a comment!

6 September 2017 - Wednesday

After approximately one million weeks, we have returned to 13th Age! We spent all of this session eating We spent all of this session eating burritos and working out what is going to happen to the world and the Icons in the coming age, provided the PCs don't do anything unexpected in hunting down and finishing off the Devourer.

It looks like the Empire will survive, although diminished by the Crusader taking a big chunk of the north (First Triumph getting Devourered won't slow him down much). On the other hand, the Lich King will be brought back into the fold, and the roles of Archmage and Lich King reshuffled into the Minister of Yang and the Minister of Yin. The Orc Lord will be eaten by the Devourer, along with the dwarven city of Anvil, but the dwarves will do okay. Unfortunately, the elven civil war will result in elvendom splitting into many factions (remains of the unified Court, high elves, wood elves, drow that tried to get superpowers from the Green's blood and got demon-tainted, drow who got mixed up in necromancy, probably some drow who stuck with the spider theme, etc) and not being unified in the next age. Also the gnomes will bail on the faerie forests and align with the Dwarf King. Now that the PCs have freed the White, it will rescue the Green from the drow, and the Five will take over the northern coast of the Middle Sea from Drakenhall (and St Claire Island) to Concord, despite some infighting. The Priestess, having not had much impact on the course of history, will probably not be an Icon next age. The High Druid will, but probably with more emphasis on reclaiming ruins and less on farming. The Diabolist will be influenced by the drow-tieflings as much as they are influenced by her, and become less of a force opposed to civilization. The Great Gold Worm will stay stuck in a hole, and of course the Prince of Shadows will remain completely mysterious (although Shadowport might have to move a bit to be a better center of international intrigue).

Next week, flashback to the Imperial wedding that was interrupted by a volcano and a war and a memory-wipe! Also level UP!

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5 September 2017 - Tuesday

The cool, rainy wind coming through my bedroom window felt very nice, but apparently I can't sleep properly with the window open and no white noise. Bah!


Second episode of Stranger Things, still creepy!


I didn't think much about WFDW in Roseville, but I thought a little since getting back. There was a lot of walking to get groceries.

The Fighter's primary thing is their signature weapon. So, how do we make that weirdly fantastic?

Signature Weapon

This isn't your signature weapon because you always carry it, or even because you've mastered it. It's part of you on a much deeper level. Why is that?

☐ You made every part of it yourself from ore and seed and calf.
☐ It was created from your blood and bone.
☐ It has been passed down from parent to child in an unbroken line from your family's dark origins.
☐ You received it from a powerful supernatural creature in exchange for an oath that is yet to be fulfilled.
☐ You crafted it from a fallen star.
☐ The spirit in the weapon has chosen you as the bearer who can accomplish its goals.

Choose a base description....

Likewise, the Ranger has their animal companion.

Animal Companion

You have a close connection with a loyal beast that aids you in the hunt, acting as you direct. How did you get this companion?

☐ You found a strange creature dying in the wilderness and nursed it back to health. (fairy)
☐ The Dark Beast has served your family for generations. (demon, summonable (1d4 damage))
☐ It's your own bestial mutant twin. (human)
☐ It's the animalistic half of your own soul made manifest. (spirit, summonable (1d4 damage))
☐ Your first animal companion was so loyal that not even the grave could keep it from your side (undead, hungers for living flesh)
☐ Okay, you may have used your family's secret techniques to train it, but it's just a normal animal, jeez.

Name your animal companion and choose a look....

The Thief doesn't have a single hook like that, their thing is their skills. Poisons, locks, and traps could expand into alchemy and fantastic mechanisms, but maybe the Thief should be the option for no weird stuff, just skill?

thief class by marithlizard (Tue Sep 5 18:44:19 2017)

Maybe motivation could be the hook for the thief class? Why do you steal things?

  • Everything else you fence like normal, but you are assembling a fantastic hoard of object type X and that's secretly your passion in life.
  • You were sold to a Dickensian urchin ring at the age of four, and even though you are grownup now and out having your own adventures you know you still have to pay them dues regularly or they will Get You.
  • The dark god-statue in your apartment can only be fed by illegal actions, and you're stuck in a very long-term lease.
  • You crave the high from danger such that you are driven to more and more daring acts of burglary (gives you disad points)
  • Ruddigore-style family curse.
  • Your lockpicks are your friends, see how they glisten. See this one shine, how he smiles in the light.
  • With every theft/other crime you collect evidence about a theory you are trying to prove, or a cause you are trying to advance, or someone you are trying to find/bring down/whatever.

Re: thief class by Trip (Wed Sep 6 16:06:19 2017)

Oh, that could work! I guess to match the others it should be "how did you come to have these skills?" but close enough.

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4 September 2017 - Monday

I made it back from Roseville! The cats are fine, which I knew because Marith checked in on them. It is not as hot here as it was when we left, which is good.

In Roseville we played Dominion (I won! Somehow!), a little bit of Puerto Rico until we realized that it was going to take forever, Lords of Waterdeep, 7 Wonders, and lots of Pirate Fluxx. (Some people played Tzolk'in but it only seats four so I didn't.) We watched a few episodes of Steven Universe season 3, which were amazingly great. We ate food and more food and some additional food, and no one starved despite Sherilyn's worries. The kids swam and swam and shrieked. I swam a little and did not get sunburned. I did not manage to go out walking because it was roughly one million degrees out ("It's too hot in the Bay Area! Let's go to the Central Valley!"). In the car, we listened to Night Vale season 2.

There was no Marith, and no RPGs, but otherwise it was a successful vacation!

  • Steven Universe 3.6-10: Amazingly great! Especially Mr. Greg! But also all of them!

I managed to go grocery shopping, which was hot and sweaty but undoubtedly healthier than staying inside all weekend. Then I was lethargic, so I tried watching the first episode of Little Witch Academia, which was okay, but dubbed and not well. Then I watched the first episode of Stranger Things, which was pretty swell and full of doom. I will probably watch more of it! But not tonight, because sleep.

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1 September 2017 - Friday

No Avalon, only Zuul.

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Sproing!


Previously in Trip's Life


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