Previously, in Trip's Life...

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.


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.


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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.


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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.


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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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