Trip's Brain-Sucking Web Site

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Trip's Life (Recent episodes)

5 Most Recent Comments
2020-05-23:  "Re: Jusgame" by Trip
2020-05-24:  "Chinese takeout" by marithlizard
2020-05-23:  "Jusgame" by marithlizard
2020-05-08:  "Re:table" by marithlizard
2020-05-02:  "Re: gaming" by Trip

27 May 2020 - Wednesday

[ . . . ]

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26 May 2020 - Tuesday

[ . . . ]

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25 May 2020 - Monday

I technically woke up almost early enough for work, so surely tomorrow will be no problem, right? Especially if I go to bed at a reasonable hour, which is definitely guaranteed to happen.

Still eating from the one meal of Chinese takeaway I ordered yesterday and all the stuff they threw in on the house. Mmm, spicy garlic eggplant.


Watched:

Read:

  • Futaribeya (Yukiko) vol 5-6: The main couple is making new friends at college, one of whom understands that college is the time to come out as queer and sleep with everyone cute but who makes so little impression on Kasumi that I think she really must be ace. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Words: Another 400ish, although this was harder than the past couple. That seems to be about the most I can do in a sitting, anyway, so if I feel able to set a daily quota, it will need to be less than that.

Relatedly, a pocket friend strongly recommended 2k to 10k (Rachel Aaron), which I picked up some time back and never got around to reading, because when would I read? How does reading even? But I am officially moving it up the list!

Make a comment!

24 May 2020 - Sunday

I slept in forever, because tomorrow is a holiday so I can practice waking up for the work week then, right? Never mind the dreams about sleeping too much or not being able to wake up correctly.

I wasted almost the entire day, and then Marith was dead from work, so I didn't even see any She-Ra.


Does getting takeaway from the good Chinese place count as an accomplishment? I want them to stay in business, but they gave me a huge soup on the house, so I don't know if I'm even helping them by spending my money!


Read:

  • Futaribeya (Yukiko) vol 3-4: This is a manga in which time passes, so the two leads have finished their entire high school career without making out, and now are looking for an apartment to live together while attending the same college. Whatever works for them, I guess!

Words: Check again, somehow! Another 400 or so. Apparently it's easier to write about people having a fight than about people meeting in an elevator.

Chinese takeout by marithlizard (Mon May 25 08:27:49 2020)

You are definitely helping them! They gave you food on the house to show their appreciation - soup is probably a pretty economical choice for that. Having a customer (a polite and sensible one at that) has to be feel encouraging no matter the amount they order.

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23 May 2020 - Saturday

We went to the big Safeway on the way back from Trader Joe's in hopes of finding things that the small Safeway nearby lacks. Success was mixed, but I did get distilled water! Hurray!


I had to be on call today from 13:30 to 19:30, so I begged off running for Jus.because it's more disruptive for the GM to get pulled away than a player. Jus agreed to run, and her character got revealed to be not actually a Sailor Scout, but a Galaxy Sister, and the more powerful Galaxy Sister, with a strong (yet hotly denied) tendency to turn evil. Also apparently there are ancient ruins in Arkansas, which has sunken into the sea. I feel like I should say something, but as a boring old guy, it's probably not my place.


Watched:

  • My Hero Academia 72-74: The heroes are definitely displaying their heroism, but I think that is going to end better for some than for others.

Read:


Words: FAIL.

Jusgame by marithlizard (Sun May 24 20:30:07 2020)

Jus does not think you are a boring old guy! At this point she's gradually transitioning from shared imaginative play with herself as the star, like she's done all her life, to consciously crafting and running adventures for other people. Some sessions are more one and some more the other. What advice would you want to give her?

Re: Jusgame by Trip (Mon May 25 12:45:34 2020)

Well, on the one hand, as adults, we should be teaching her how to game better. But on the other hand, what makes me think I'm qualified? And isn't corrupting the youth with antiquated traditions what got us this current mess of a world? So how can I tell her she's imaginationing wrong?

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22 May 2020 - Friday

I tried sleeping without the brain inflator again, but this time it did not go so well. I hope I can find some distilled water soon.


Read:

  • Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe (Carlos Hernandez): I didn't like this one nearly as much as the first, Replacing most of the universe stuff with school festival would have been much more interesting.
  • Futaribeya (Yukiko) vol 2: More heartwarming semi-yuri slice-of-life. Very little happens.

Words: Surprisingly, check! Almost four hundred words!

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21 May 2020 - Thursday

I tried sleeping without the brain inflator, since it is running out of distilled water and using it without the humidifier makes my throat sad. I guess it went okay? I feel like I woke up more during the night, but I don't seem more stupid than usual this morning.


Late work, but Marith was off today so we managed to have cooked food and TV and stuff.


Watched:

  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power 7-8: Poor broken Catra. She needs years of therapy. But she made a new friend, and Entrapta resolved someone's existential dilemma, and now they are ready to start dealing with what Scorpia found out about right after rocking the stage. But surely all of this stuff will turn out okay, especially the bits with Shadow Weaver and Castaspella.

Words: FAIL.

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20 May 2020 - Wednesday

During today's customer call, I proved that I am at least as useful as a rubber duckie. I'll take it!


Kelsey managed to be late to 13th Age Glorantha despite lockdown, but being sick is a good excuse, especially in these times! (It doesn't seem to be the Rona, though.)

This session, after being scolded for his attempted manipulativeness by the Humakti, Brogandi recruits a convenient nearby Earth priestess (who looks like an adorable grandma but may be secretly terrifying) to help and then the group performs the ritual to hide and confuse the dead so that the Lunar magicians can't call up the ghosts of the slain Lassodeg Lions and find out who to massacre. This is both onerous and gross, but works surprisingly well considering that Brogandi's mom, who actually knows and is qualified to perform the ritual, never shows up. This puts off the problem of the dead Lunars until the end of everyone's life, which should be fine, right?

When the group gets back to the steading, they find Brogandi's mom, who has just returned from her own trading expedition with news that the Black Oak clan has put out a bounty on him so he shouldn't go to the mark-- oh. But since the Lions got killed instead of delivering the wegild to the Black Oaks, Brogandi probably shouldn't leave the tula for a while anyway.

Level UP! And next week back to the Away Team, who also get to be level 2.


Read:

  • Delicious Dungeon (Ryoko Kui) vol 1: Adventurers decide to live off the dungeon (which has an actual backstory, even if it's just A Wizard Did It) and try eating all kinds of things with surprising success. They even figure out how to eat animate armor, although it takes two chapters.

Words: FAIL.

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19 May 2020 - Tuesday

I guess I did a work thing today? Also I ate the last of the terrible pizza from yesterday.


Watched:

  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power 5-6: Catra is still Catra, even when [SPOILER]. The power of friendship and magic doesn't actually make everything instantly better, as Bow and Glimmer could explain.

Read:

  • Network Effect (Martha Wells): I'm not saying I didn't really like this, but it feels like an entire novel of Murderbot is a bit much. That's a lot of feelings!

Words: FAIL.

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18 May 2020 - Monday

Boo, Monday. At least it's not as busy as last Friday.


I tried to make a pizza out of the dough, sauce, cheese, and salami that Ken brought us from The Milk Pail, but was not notably successful. I mean, it was technically edible, but it was definitely extra-toasty. I had to order Marith a real pizza so she had dinner.


Watched:

  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power 5.3-4: Aww, Catra and Glimmer bonding. Also, rescue mission! It's a little weird having the protection of Etheria from the Horde as the B plot.

Words: FAIL.

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17 May 2020 - Sunday

I got up early enough to go grocery shopping, but they had no distilled water, only "purified". They did have more diet Snapple, though, so I can continue my dissolute habits.


Dave decided there was actually at least one more issue in this collection, so we only had two collection bonuses each to get the Atlantic City Rollers through "Apotheosis"!

The helpful historian of magic who sent the team into Moth's own personal hell so she could talk a demon into becomng a god (see last issue) points out that Pazuzu is now in a somewhat tenuous position, metaphysically speaking, and could probably use some help establishing their new position in conceptual space. Since the Rollers' base, stolen from Mav, is already pretty conceptual, it seems like a good place to set up a shrine. Feathers and the Mechanic mostly bicker like children with machine shops, but Anonymouse and Nighthawk produce some very nice art in the various workshops, and Moth invents and performs an aerial dance in honor of Pazuzu in the conservatory (which has skylights). Will and intent is enough to bring the quasi-real house into alignment with the Semi-Platonic Realm where gods of abstract concepts dwell, and an door appears in the wall!

Perhaps the door isn't that innocuous, because it leads to the borders of the Semi-Platonic Realm, where two ancient gods of war guard the concept of a sacred torii gate from entities of corruption. Moth tries to persuade them that the smart thing to do is let Pazuzu (who is apparently hiding out in her soul) renounce his corrupt ways and strengthen the forces of non-corruption. Nanaja seems to be considering it, but unfortunately Tu is the god of frontal assaults, and the fight breaks out.

Nanaja and Tu and their spirits of war are tough, but no match for ray guns and hydraulic fists, and eventually are beaten down. Before Moth can take Pazuzu through the gateway, though, another group shows up with strong opinions on whether that should happen: Pazuzu's old coworkers from Hell. The Rollers are kind of battered by this time, so the demons are able to extract Pazuzu and try to make off with him, but Anonymouse clobbers all the lesser demons, and Nighthawk fills the leaders full of arrows. Is it finally time for Pazuzu to take their place among the gods?

It is! But first the Rollers must enter the Semi-Platonic Realm and prepare that place (semi-metaphorically), while trying to avoid being pulled apart into their component concepts. Feathers and the Mechanic build a helicarrier, Nighthawk and Anonymouse fill it with a museum of human flight through the ages, and Moth links Pazuzu to the Roman gods, whose names are now places humans want to fly to.

Amazing victory!


Watched:

  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power 5.1-2: Still awesome, even though it's now on the interstellar scale! Horde Prime is quite creepy, and I think also trying to seduce Catra, while creepily taking over Etheria.

Words: FAIL.

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16 May 2020 - Saturday

Wheee, grocery shopping. I didn't think I bought that much stuff, but now our fridge is packed. Then Ken brought us a bag of yummies from The Milk Pail, so now our fridge is super-packed. Well, by our standards.


Jus wanted to play more Hogwarts, so we did, although she was not super-attentive. This session, Bella crawled around in secret tunnels, met a boy who everyone says is Voldemort's son and his two-headed snake, found the kitchens and the house elves that toil there, got accused of being sweet on that Potter kid and challenged to a duel, won a duel, and did no homework.

I should probably read the third book (since we established that Harry is in third year) or at least a summary, shouldn't I. How does reading even work, though?


Watched:

  • My Hero Academia 69-71: Oh right, we were at the part where Midoriya and Mirio had their hearts ripped out by not being able to save the kid. But fortunately, heroes! Also dungeon crawl.

Read:

  • In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaia, Chashiba Katase) vol 11: Conclusion of the arc about explaining away an old murder. Less violence, more of Kotoko being terrible. (Jeez, you kiss your mother with that mouth?)

Words: FAIL.

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15 May 2020 - Friday

You know that thing where you decide to get up and your body does all the muscles and bones and stuff? That didn't really happen this morning. I eventually got up and logged in to work, figuring I could sneak away and shower later, but instead I got sucked into a gnarly problem (which I could have solved myself instead of escalating if I were smart instead of stupid) that took pretty much all day. I never even got fully dressed. I did eat some food at various times throughout the day, at least.


Read:

  • In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaia, Chashiba Katase) vol 10: Starting another longer arc where Iwanaga will have get multiple people to explain away the supernatural of their own volition. Also a bit from Rikka's PoV, and yah, Iwanaga is pretty horrible.

Words: FAIL.

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14 May 2020 - Thursday

I don't think I accomplished anything at work, but I was logged on until late anyway, so I didn't accomplish anything except making a schedule for first year Hogwarts classes that matches what we already established in play and is not completely ridiculous.

Oh, and I listened to a bunch of music that my pocket fronds linked, which was nice but not an accomplishment.


Read:

  • Inside Mari (Shuzo Oshimi) vol 6: The volume that casts doubt on everything that came before! (Things are still creepy, just in a different genre.)

Words: FAIL.

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13 May 2020 - Wednesday

13th Age Glorantha seems to be happening more reliably in our present dystopia than when we all travelled freely-- oh, never mind, I understand.

The last scenario for the home team was obviously "Send Tricksters, Swords, and Money", so this one had to be "Werelions of Sartar" and so it was! We finally managed to pin down the lion-themed Lunars and even though one of them transformed horribly (and his hair was perfect), we were able to keep them from getting away alive to let the empire know we had killed them. Now we have to stop their ghosts from spilling the beans, which we can do but only in a way that may cause intra-party conflict with the Humakti.


Read:

  • "Rogue Protocol", "Exit Strategy" (Martha Wells): I'm with Murderbot, feelings are the worst. (Capitalism is also the worst.) Now I can read Network Effect!

Words: FAIL.

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12 May 2020 - Tuesday

The company summit is all virtual this year, so I was able to check out some presentations without having to go all the way into SF, or in fact having to put a shirt on. Today was not that exciting, though. Tomorrow is customer presentations, which may be more relevant, and Thursday is more technical stuff.


Marith, hero of the rotation, did me a convey again, so I have Aspen's ashes neatly stacked on top of Marmalade's and Ghirardelli's, along with the small cat charm my pocket frond sent.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.24: Well, that was a different sort of season finale. But not as dark as I was expecting.

Read:

  • In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaia, Chashiba Katase) vol 9: More shorts, where Kotoko demonstrates an inhuman level of deductive power and Kurō looks longsuffering. An assortment of characters die, go mad, or are deeply disturbed.

Words: FAIL.

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11 May 2020 - Monday

I almost got up on time this morning. Almost.

I did successfully broil sausages for dinner in the toaster oven without setting anything on fire, but that's about it for the day. I mean, I did more reading and less Happy Coloring, but that's just a shift in the flavor of my uselessness.


Read:

  • "All Systems Red", "Artificial Condition" (Martha Wells): Reread in preparation for the novel. I still love Murderbot.
  • In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaia, Chashiba Katase) vol 7-8: Several short pieces of Kotoko resolving supernatural problems. Not necessarily solving them: some people do just deserve to remain cursed

Words: FAIL.

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10 May 2020 - Sunday

I was on call all day, but that only involved an hour or two of actual work, so I can't use it as an excuse for my complete lack of accomplishment.

Jus played D&D with her dad and some of the people Earl abandoned us to game with, and apaprently had a blast, so I am probably obsolete.


Read:

  • In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaia, Chashiba Katase) vol 5-6: Conclusion of the "Steel Lady Nanase" arc. That is indeed a very cunning plan, and Kotoko deserves the title "Goddess of Wisdom", but she is still so very obnoxious.

Words: FAIL.

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9 May 2020 - Saturday

There was more line today even though we were earlier. Mysterious are the ways of grocery shopping.


As is the fashion at this time, we played Hogwarts: A Role-Playing Game with Jus. I had vague plot ideas, but mostly she wanted to chew on the scenery class-by-class and try to steal magic items, which I am sure she would be happy to keep doing for weeks. Also she made Snape give points to Gryffindor, which everyone acknowledged as a great victory.


Watched:

  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken 10-12: Marketing! Creative block! Finance! Comiket! Meddling regulatory bodies! Miscommunication! Sound wizardry! Edit! Edit! OK! VICTORY! The final product was a bit opaque to us, but a) they're students, and b) maybe it makes more sense in Japan.

Next week, My Hero Academia?

Read:

  • In/Spectre (Kyo Shirodaia, Chashiba Katase) vol 1-4: It's a good thing I reread this before diving into the next like seven volumes I have stacked up, because I had forgotten a lot! I didn't remember any of Kurō's endealment, or who their enemy was. I remembered that Kotoko was obnoxious, but not the full extent of her pettiness. Someday I hope to have a character that obnoxious.

Words: FAIL.

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8 May 2020 - Friday

Because quarantine is making me so productive, I was able to set up the table and unbox the toaster oven that goes on it in the same week! :flex_arm_emoji:

But Marith is convinced that the horrible bug that appeared in her room came in with the toaster oven, so perhaps my accomplishment will be forever tainted.


Words: FAIL. I waited too long, and then there was a horrible bug.

Re:table by marithlizard (Sun May 10 17:42:04 2020)

Don't worry, I promise not to suffer traumatic associations every time I use the toaster oven!

Make a comment!

7 May 2020 - Thursday

I finally put together the table we got to extend our inadequate counter space, an arduous task that may have taken as much as a few hundred seconds!


Words: FAIL. I had good intentions but poor time management.

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6 May 2020 - Wednesday

I don't actually need any more physical objects in my apartment, but I am still tempted by these.


Many people were on time for 13th Age Glorantha this week, although the audio packets were less reliable. We had some unstructured roleplay at the market, which was quite successful at least commercially, but then on the way back to their tula, the home team ran into a fight between prominent members of their clan and the Lassodeg Lions. Looks like it's Lunar-murderin' time! (But first, the horseback chase with extra slapstick, thanks, Eurmal.)


Read:

  • Ghost Diary (Seiju Natsumegu) vol 1-2: There's nothing much wrong with it, but it's pretty generic. Serious hero who defeats yōkai in pursuit of finding his sister (who is only lost, not fridged, but still...), busty bossy girl with short blonde hair and unrequited love for the hero, child-like girl with possessed toy, anthropophagic urban legends, etc. I am pretty sure I already know what the deal with their pet yōkai is, even.

Words: FAIL.

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5 May 2020 - Tuesday

I did a lot of work meetings today. That's like supporting capitalism, right?


Words: Somehow, shockingly, CHECK.

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4 May 2020 - Monday

I did nothing today. Except work. Marith is working early morning to afternoon some days this week, but is too wiped out by her abusive job to watch TV or anything, and I am not smart enough to do things on my own.


Words: FAIL.

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3 May 2020 - Sunday

It's time for Atlantic City Rollers and I wasn't even the last person to log on this time!

It's a good thing, too, since this issue was all about Moth! After getting her powers partially drained by the alien glop last issue, and finding out about the YouTube channel of demonic transcendental meditation the issue before that, she was worried to the point of nightmares, but couldn't contact the demon who she gets her powers from. With the help of a passing historian of magic, the entire team goes on an astral journey to break through multiple circles of Moth's fears and insecurities and reach... an empty cubicle in the primordial chaos with an "out to lunch" sign. With more willpower than sense, the Rollers push onward and bust into Hell itself in search of answers!

Finally, Moth is face-to-face with Pazuzu, to hear his "I am altering the deal, pray I don't alter it any further" speech, and reject it. Based on a thought she had afte the historian talked about Pazuzu trying to gain more power, she makes the pitch that he should abandon Hell and become a god!

This gets security called on them, but Moth keeps making her case while everyone else holds off the demons, and once the demonic auditor has been hydraulic-pressed by the Mechanic and cannot rat him out, Pazuzu concedes that being out from under Hell's thumb might not be so bad.

Victory!

Fortunately SCRPG explicitly allows for radiation accidents, so I can change Moth's powers to be appropriate to the god of flight, once I figure out what that should be. She already had the Mystic power source, but maybe I should change it to Higher Power and see how that works?


Read:

  • Mysterious Girlfriend X vol 6 (Riichi Ueshiba): This did not end up where I expected based on the beginning, and I'm not sure that was an entirely satisfying ending, but it was very much what it was. I kind of wish something (anything) had been explained, though!

Words: FAIL.

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2 May 2020 - Saturday

Yay cleaners. At least this time they had masks, even if they didn't socially distance very well. And they got to clean all the bits of floor that were formerly occupied by cat stuff.

There was a line at Trader Joe's, but it was not long, and there was no picket line, so shopping was not more terrible than expected. I forgot to get peanut butter, though!

I ran Hogwarts for Marith and the plush lizards and Jus, and did a terrible job of it, but all Jus wants is to be Voldemort's daughter and probably be evil, so that's fine.


Apparently the reason that all my pocket fronds use Kast is that it doesn't require each watcher to have their own account or other access to the streaming media! However, apparently the UI is terrible, so Marith and I should figure out how it works before subjecting Dave to it.

Watched:

  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! 7-9: Giant robot success! Mizusaki parents! Kanamori backstory! After the technical aspects of anime, it's moved on to the importance of project management and marketing.

Read:

  • Mysterious Girlfriend X vol 1-5 (Riichi Ueshiba): I have finally finished my reread of the first five volumes of this heartwarming peculiar tale of young love and biochemical communion, including the part in vol 5 which has very disturbing implications, and now I am ready to read the last volume!

Words: FAIL.

gaming by marithlizard (Mon May 4 03:35:14 2020)

You did a fine job of GMing! Jus was very happy! It is not your fault that the lizards and their human interrupt too much!

Re: gaming by Trip (Thu May 7 20:59:35 2020)

Well, you did sign up to talk three times as much as any other player!

Make a comment!

1 May 2020 - Friday

Squid science in quarantine!


Watched:


Words: FAIL.

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30 April 2020 - Thursday

I did some work stuff, almost but not quite like I knew what I was doing.


Watched:

  • Founder of Diabolism 3: Still posing as the person who gave up his body to him, our antihero goes to martial arts training, where he flirts with cute guys and causes trouble.

Words: FAIL.

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29 April 2020 - Wednesday

13th Age Glorantha! Takeaway burrito of death!

Suprisingly, it was the trickster who had the plan, but then the bar was set by the Humakti and the Storm Bull, neither of whom should be trusted with a delicate ransom negotiation. Anyway, Brogandi and Gosik were restored to the bosom of their clan, and Brogandi only owes Harmast the Thrice-Defenestrated a favor worth a dozen or so cattle. Perhaps the Lunar scum will also get in trouble for pocketing the whole wergild instead of just the transfer fee, but that might be too much to hope for.


Words: FAIL.

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28 April 2020 - Tuesday

I did work, but otherwise this day was a complete writeoff.


Words: FAIL.

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27 April 2020 - Monday

Beginning week seven of WFH/lockdown. What even is time anymore?

(I've heard that March lasted a million years because everything was always changing, but April was over instantly because everyone had settled into a lockdown routine. If so, I hope May is also short, but I have the horrible feeling the Trumpists will screw everything up in multiple ways over the course of the month.

Marith is working late all this week, so I will have to find my own entertainment. Or die in a pit.


Watched:

  • Founder of Diabolism 1-2: I don't know where Marith found this, and the Chinese subtitles overlaid with English ones make me think this is probably a bootleg copy, but it's pretty swell. If I were sacrificing my life to bring someone back to inhabit my body, I'd probably leave a note saying what I wanted them to do, but it seems to be working out anyway.

Words: FAIL.

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26 April 2020 - Sunday

Instead of setting the alarm for when I thought I should get up and then screwing with it to waste extra time not sleeping, I set it for the latest time that seemed reasonable, and woke up then. I didn't actually do anything useful for the rest of the day, but at least I was awake to do nothing!


Watched:

  • Leverage 3.8: Well, at least Eliot wasn't also an expert race car driver. I wanted Hardison to get an apprentice though.

Read:

  • Inside Mari vol 4-5 (Shuzo Oshimi): More nudity, this time not all of it unappealing, but bringing with it a creepy clue. Also more of Yori's backstory and why she is so prickly.

Words: FAIL.

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25 April 2020 - Saturday

Weirdly, there was no line at Trader Joe's today. There were people inside (mostly old people who shopped like it was 2019, or maybe that's just me) and everything seemed fine, but it was weird.


Maybe Thursday and Friday were days of low morale because I forgot to take my brain pills (because I keep screwing around with my morning alarms to avoid getting up)? I didn't think the brain pills wore off that fast, but maybe the effects only take a long time to start and end immediately. I could look it up, but it would be depressing.


Based on the pictures I pick in Happy Color and how long I've spent going through ArtStation, it seems incontrovertible that my method of coping with quarantine is looking at pretty girls on computers. Because I do suck.


This time Marith ran for Jus (and me), and was able to shamelessly rip off the media of our youth. "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you kids and your meddling lizards!" But Jus let the villain off the hook and even promised to bring him groceries.

Next week I have to run. I had an idea, but now I'm not sure if I like it. I'm sad that Princess World involves so much drawing together and colored pens and stuff.


Watched:

  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress 1: Marith does like it, even though it is gory!
  • Keep Your Hands Off The Eizouken! 4-6: Now we know where the title comes from, and Kanamori shows us how the Eizouken is going to get that way! Also she is probably the only person who could get the other two to compromise on their artistic vision in order to finish in time to blow the student council away. Plus, excellent ranting on the tragedy of giant robot anime!

Read:

  • Inside Mari vol 3 (Shuzo Oshimi): The obvious thing that might have happened, doesn't seem to have been what happened. Except what the main character remembers doesn't match other memories.

Words: FAIL.

coping methods by marithlizard (Sun Apr 26 00:03:22 2020)

As someone who copes with pictures and stories about attractive animated people, I don't see the problem! Neither do any of the thousands of other AO3 readers and Tumblr users. Your brainweasels are the ones that suck.

Re: coping methods by Trip (Sun Apr 26 20:42:50 2020)

No, I'm pretty sure that's different.

Re: coping methods by marithlizard (Mon Apr 27 18:01:54 2020)

Is the difference is "all those other people are not me"? :)

Re: coping methods by Trip (Sat May 2 21:40:34 2020)

And therefore might not be terrible.

Make a comment!

24 April 2020 - Friday

Today was a day of even lower morale. Ayse kindly listened to me whine and talked about mindfulness meditation and gave me foncy choco. I didn't do any of the meditation, but talking about it helped.

I spent the rest of the day flailing uselessly at one problem from yesterday that should have been trivial. Late in the afternoon I remembered that my alleged core competency is reading the god damned error message, and from that point it was like five minutes until I finished the repro and wrote the customer back that my original theory was 100% correct in every regard and everything was fine.

I guess I'll write up the KB article Monday.


Words: FAIL.

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23 April 2020 - Thursday

I understood things in meetings today, so I guess that's good. I did not accomplish many things, though. Except Happy Color, I accomplished a lot of that. It was a day of low morale.


Read:

  • Inside Mari vol 2 (Shuzo Oshimi): Apparently Mari was acting really weird before she got this NEET in her body, and now he's probably ruined her social life but at least he's experienced one of the terrible parts of having a female body. There is nudity, but it's... not appealing.

Words: FAIL.

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22 April 2020 - Wednesday

13th Age Glorantha happened successfully, but Mernyr was thwarted, and nothing came of the whole Travelling Stone thing. On the other hand, the away team made it back to their usual Lunar-robbing grounds, so we switched to the home team, where Brogandi is being dragged off to be tried in court for aggravated defense of clan treasures. Surely the other PCs will rescue him!


Words: FAIL.

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21 April 2020 - Tuesday

I got up for the early meeting this time, and it was moderately useful. Then there were more meetings. And less brain.


Watched:

  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress 6-7: That is not a thing I have seen undead do very often before! Also, social strain because a train full of PTSD is not a very stable society. I have been watching this on my own because I think it is too gory for Marith, but what if I'm wrong and should watch it with her? Except she works until late every night.

Read:

  • Inside Mari vol 1 (Shuzo Oshimi): M/F body swap has been done many times in the comedy genre, but here it's bizarre and traumatic and where did the other mind go and why is this weird girl bullying him about not ruining the life he's taken over and augh.

Words: FAIL.

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20 April 2020 - Monday

Week Six of WFH/lockdown begins. Will it be almost the same as the previous five, but slightly more terrible? Signs point to yes.


Watched:

  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress 1-5: Trains vs zombies! Well, steampunk vs undead — they act like zombies but are more like vampires in some ways and unique in others. There's a male and female lead, but so far no romance. Lots of death and gore, though.

Words: FAIL.

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19 April 2020 - Sunday

I wasted the entire morning on sloth (definitely my sin of choice in my old age, although gluttony also has its place) but was not the last person to log into Roll20 for Atlantic City Rollers. In fact, I beat the GM, so technically I wasn't even late!

This issue, aliens invade! The Rollers are interrupted at the mayor's re-election party by news of fighting in space, and then an enormous flying saucer, nearly a kilometer in diameter, descends toward Atlantic City!

Fortunately, although they have a very large starship, these aliens are not particularly competent, and the Mechanic is able to decoy the small pods into shooting off one of the saucer's engines, while Feathers guides it to crash out at sea instead of onto the city. (Yes, she used a Macbook.)

Unfortunately, the crash released the terribly radioactive space amoeba that was powering the ship, so the heroes have to defeat that before it gets loose on Earth, while saving the hapless aliens from the sinking saucer. It isn't easy, but the Atlantic City Rollers save the day once again!


Watched:

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender 1.4-5: Sokka gets fed his words by a girl, Zuko shows why nobody likes the Fire Nation, Aang meets an old friend.

Read:

  • Spooktacular (Ewen Cluney): A very simple, non-infringing, retroclone of the Ghostbusters RPG. You have etheric zappers, you have a funky car, you get paid (sometimes) to bust ghosts.

Words: FAIL.

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18 April 2020 - Saturday

Got up early to shop, it went pretty well, I went back to sleep for a couple of hours, and that was half the day gone.

Forgot to wash my mask after shopping so that it could dry while I napped, spent a big chunk of the afternoon waiting on that, eventually did some more shopping.

More masks arrived, courtesy of extremely excellent pocket frond. Hurray!

In the afternoon, we met up with Jus via zoom to play No Thank You, Evil! and it worked out very well! But possibly I should run something for her to model a different course, so she doesn't turn into a Mike-style, roll for every single little thing, GM.

In the evening, we somehow managed to watch anime with Dave (and apparently Jus), probably because we did not get metastream involved.


Watched:

  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! 1-3: It definitely falls into the "anime about making anime/manga" genre, but it's much less about doing it for real and much more about the enthusiasm and imagination.

Words: FAIL.

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17 April 2020 - Friday

What is Friday even?


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.23: A fiendish and convoluted plan, involving arthropods. Also intrigue in the NYPD.

Read:

  • Spirit Circle vol 1-3 (Satoshi Mizukami): I read the first volume a while ago and liked it, and finally noticed I had two more, so I read them! Kouko continues to hold a grudge against Fuuta, who experiences more of his past lives, including some that don't entire follow the pattern, but still cannot get to the answers he seeks. I will have to figure out how to get more volumes without involving Amazon.

Words: FAIL.

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16 April 2020 - Thursday

I was pretty blargh today because after all the crying I still had to stay up late playing 13th Age Glorantha (trolls played trollball all over our camp, it was horrible) and then get up on time earlier than I would prefer for a company all-hands meeting (turns out quarters still end and have financial indicators, just like in the Before Times). But I did a thing at work, so yay me, I guess?


Watched:

  • Leverage 3.7: They missed a chance to have some real Sovereign Citizen bafflegab in there, but I suppose it would have been too unbelievable.

Words: FAIL.

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15 April 2020 - Wednesday

Aspen

??? 2006 -- 15th April 2020

She Will Always Be Missed

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14 April 2020 - Tuesday

The vet now has a chat thing on their website so I didn't have to make a phone call to confirm that Aspen needs to go in, but that had no effect on whether Marith is working today. We will have to take Aspen in tomorrow morning and wait in the parking lot forever, because did you notice the country is being run into the ground by one political party so nothing works?

Also I roasted broccoli, and it turned out very well. Maybe someday I will be ready for recipes that involve two steps!


Words: FAIL.

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13 April 2020 - Monday

I was supposed to get up early but failed because I suck. Also it's Monday and I think Aspen isn't eating. (But somehow, she is still pooping. Disgustingly. On my bed.) By the time I progressed past worrying uselessly into deciding to call the vet despite our current dystopia, it was too late to do anything useful, but at least my pocket fronds are supportive.

Ayse has introduced me to Happy Color which may be even more addictive than Tile Craft.


Read:

  • Americana (Liam Ginty): A game for playing teens investigating the death of their friend in (1950s America + fantastical creatures and magic - (racism + sexism + homophobia)). It's a very simple system but heavy on helping each other, and Your Dead Friend is written up as a character who can provide assist dice with flashbacks. The concept is very good, but I'm not sure it makes me brave enough to try to run a mystery and expect it to be satisfying.

Words: FAIL.

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12 April 2020 - Sunday

So useless. More useless than that.


Watched:

  • The Case Files of Jeweler Richard 10-12: Everything is resolved, and then some more stuff is resolved, and almost everyone ends up okay. The End! (Apparently there are multiple light novels, so I guess there could be additional seasons, but they don't seem to be on Crunchyroll.)

Words: FAIL.

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11 April 2020 - Saturday

Got up early to grocery shop, wearing my shiny new mask. I must have been wearing it right because it made my glasses fog up, but it wasn't too uncomfortable. Cleaning an individual mask is a pain, though, so I should try to get my pocket frond to make enough that I can just wear a new one each time I go out and then launder them all at the end of the week (or even twice a week). That would not be selfish at all, right?

Finally we got organized with Dave and just set up a zoom meeting for discussion and for pressing play on videos at the same time, and finished RWBY! Next up, probably Hands Off Eizouken.


Watched:

  • RWBY 7.11-13: The grand finale of the season in which everyone fights and then there's a cliffhanger! Marith thinks some of the fighting was completely out of character, but I only agree with some of her positions.

Read:

  • Giant Spider & Me vol 1 (Kikori Morino): A young girl living alone in the post-apocalyptic wasteland pleasant forest meets a peculiar spider-creature and makes friends with them through the power of Japanese cooking. Recipes are included, as is a cliff-hanger ending that will probably be resolved without harm to anyone in the next volume.

Words: FAIL.

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10 April 2020 - Friday

I did not manage to do anything even slightly useful today. I mean, I did work, but that's just capitalism.


Words: FAIL.

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9 April 2020 - Thursday

Apparently I talked too much in the team meeting today. Who am I, and what have I done with Trip?

At least I remembered to go for a walk today.


Hurray, the masks from our pocket frond arrived! I will wash them and then I can wear on if I ever remember to go outside again.


Words: FAIL.

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8 April 2020 - Wednesday

I gave in and bought a paid Zoom account for gaming, but I don't like it.

Roll20 has introduced lighting and vision and darkvision and all kinds of knobs which Mike likes to twiddle with, confirming my belief that he should really be designing computer games. However, we stuck with 13th Age Glorantha for this session, in which our travelers met some Lunars who were also tourists at the Traveling Stone, although probably with nefarious intent.

Best line of the evening: Lunar wyvern-rider: "I was a con artist and criminal, and then the Lunar empire gave me a purpose and now I am a scholar." Garstal: "My family were scholars, but then the Lunar empire killed them and now I'm a con artist and criminal."

Worst line of the evening: anything Mernyr said to the cute Lunar archer. She's seventeen, so good judgement is not to be expected, but I feel like her companions should be more concerned that all the people she wants to sleep with are Lunars.

Anyway, despite the obvious perfidy, Mernyr agreed to watch the site for the return of the Traveling Stone for a few days in exchange for a huge pile of cash. It's not like they can't betray him later (although Elsas sticking around makes that harder).


Read:

  • RWBY Official Manga Anthology vol 1-4 (ed Joe Yamazaki, Jeremy Haun, Jason A Hurley): So RWBY was translated into Japanese at some point, and then people made fan comics in Japanese, and now those have been translated back.into English in four volumes (one per main character, in order). They are cute, but not really that great.

Words: FAIL.

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7 April 2020 - Tuesday

Hurray, the cleaners came! Boo, they did not do social distancing or even have masks! I tipped them a lot anyway, because I am not a Libertarian Logic Bro.

We finally have started quarterly reviews at work, so this one actually covered my whole year. It was pretty fair, I think, although this company has actual standards and are not amazed just because I know what to do with a command line.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.22: In which Joan and Sherlock perceive completely different things about Marcus's secret squeeze, and also for-profit prisons and police corruption are normalized by everyone except Sherlock.

Words: FAIL.

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6 April 2020 - Monday

Marith was working until late, so I roasted some broccoli to go with my chicken strips. I think I used too much olive oil, but otherwise it worked well. Ish.


Watched:

  • Dropkick on my Devil!! Dash 1: Probably very funny to Japanese people? Or maybe not even. Surely there was something more interesting to do with a summoned snakelady, though.

Read:

  • Necrotic Edifices of Iron and Moon (Sean Richer): An adventure for Troika! that is so surreal I have no idea what it is even about, never mind being able to run it.
  • The House of the Red Doors (James A Pozenel Jr): A less surreal Troika! adventure, for one player, about a magical test in which the character can win some or all of what they desire, or just die miserably. Actually, this adventure might be too coherent for Troika.

Words: Check, just barely.

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5 April 2020 - Sunday

Zoom took away the automatic override of the 40-minute limit on free accounts! This does not make me want to upgrade my account, and fortunately Edie already had a paid account for school so I didn't have to!

In this issue of Atlantic City Rollers, the Rollers are all chilling in their dimensionally-complex base while Veela tries to unravel the intrusion into her comm system (see last issue). The hack starts reraveling itself as she works, and finally she discovers that it's under active supervision when two weirdos teleport into her lab and start trashing the place! One summons abstract-looking minions that emit energy beams, and the other opens portals that spew out seeker missiles and otherwise annoy the heroes.

Somehow, none of the twenty rooms in the house is more than three away from any other, and Anonymouse, at least, knows all the secret doors (is she an elf? that would explain why she's so short!), so soon everyone is there to pile in. It looks bad for the good guys, as the minion-maker keeps churning out his simple geometric shapes and the teleporter hides behind his portals, Anonymouse falls into the brownies' subdimension, and gravity inverts itself, but in the end, no one can withstand the pounding fists of the Mechanic, especially when he's giving them a swirly in the garbage-disposal wormhole.

The minion-maker escapes through the last-ditch portal, but Moth tackles the portal-maker and he is captured. It turns out that Central and Portal Meister belong to a villain group called the Exec, who all have powers that let them hack reality like a computer system and are organized enough to have a fast-response team on standby.

So, not only have the Rollers made another enemy, but their base may be more unstable than they thought.


Watched:

    Leverage 3.6: In which Eliot is a country music heartthrob and Parker is Bjo--eccentric.

Words: Check, somehow.

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4 April 2020 - Saturday

No cleaners, they will be here on Tuesday instead.


It took me like five hours to go grocery shopping, although part of that was because I thought the bus schedule was merely unreliable, when in fact it is a work of purest fiction, and the only way to find out what buses are doing is to call the helpdesk and wait on hold for twenty minutes. But it's not like I had a lot of stuff that needed doing today.


Read:

  • Hook: Dead to Rights (Melissa Snark): Peter Pan fanfic. Captain Hook and her undisciplined pirate crew try to save human kids from the faerie horror that is Peter Pan, but it's not easy. Unsurprisingly, she talks more villainous than she acts.

Words: Check, amazingly.

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3 April 2020 - Friday

Survived another week, so I'm doing better than many.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 3.1: Oh the doom. But more of the doom is taking the form of physical violence, which is not okay by Marith. We might have to find something else to watch.

Read:

  • Electric Bastionland (Chris McDowall): You are in Bastion, the only city that matters, surrounded by the archaic Deep Country, beneath the Living Stars, above the machine-haunted Underground. You have a failed career, 1d6 money (and probably some trinket from your failed career based on that same d6 roll), 1d6 HP (and probably some trait or something ditto), and you are collectively 10,000 pounds in debt. Becoming a treasure hunter is your only hope. The aesthetic is vaguely early C20, with bonus Kafka-esque beauracracy, intelligent animals, aliens, and lots of general weirdness. The system is extremely simple, and the designer advises using it as little as possible anyway. It's not at all PbtA but comes from a similar philosophy, I think.

Words: FAIL.

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2 April 2020 - Thursday

I tried to heat up soup, with disastrous results. Maybe I should stick to cold food. Or just not eating.


Watched:

  • The Case Files of Jeweler Richard 8-9: Wait, so after episode 7, Seigi is pretending to be straight again? But at least that only lasted one episode, now he can prove his devotion to Richard again.

Read:

  • Princess Jellyfish vol 1 (Akiko Higashimura): I'm not sure what I was expecting from this, but what I got was a house full of women who better things to do than be feminine, an invading glamour girl, combat makeovers, and econo-political machinations. Also some romance, maybe.

Words: FAIL.

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1 April 2020 - Wednesday

The world has relatively few stupid April Fools jokes this year, and that is just fine by me.

We tried to have the company meeting again, with more technical success. My job does not appear to be in any danger, because our company makes stuff that lets other companies profit from people being online, and guess what? Everyone is online because of social distancing!

I may have recorded this in my status report as "Company Meeting II: Electric Boogaloo".


Our second attempt at playing 13th Age Glorantha via Roll20 and zoom was also more successful than the first. Mike even had a map prepared so we could have a fight scene (in which we trounced the terrible pig-people).


Words: FAIL.

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31 March 2020 - Tuesday

The company tried to have a meeting this morning but was thwarted by technical difficulties and frustration. We did get the important message, which is that they aren't laying me off, and also a very long-running customer issue was wrapped up without the customer giving me a nasty review for taking so long, so overall it was a good work day..

In the evening, we tried watching a movie with Marith's tumblr friend, who seems very nice. We tried metastream first, but finally got Marith to give up and then we switched to Zoom and it worked. The video and audio quality were not great, but at least we were all able to watch together. I think we had been screen sharing from here it might have worked better, or we could have just synced up pressing Play and used Zoom only for audio chat.


Watched:

  • The Swan Princess: It was not entirely unlike Disney, although there were multiple animal companions. The villain had a motivation, kind of, if not a plan, and the prince did have one skill.
  • Elementary 3.21: Well, that was gruesome, even for a murder-of-the-week show. But Sherlock was like a decent human being.

Words: FAIL.

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30 March 2020 - Monday

Another Monday on lockdown. But I did some work and ate some leftover pad thai (which Marith scorned as too spicy, but which was not spicy at all; is there some other flavor she's classifying as spicy that I'm not?) and borrowed a lamp from Marith to illuminate my computer corner. It is much better than my bags of LEDs.


Watched:

  • Leverage 3.4: In which Hardison displays even more leet skillz, Nate is an asshole, and disbelief is hoisted by a strong cable.
  • Leverage 3.5: In which Hardison meets a nice girl and Parker has a feeling. (Just one, but it's a lot for her!) Also the professional executive class needs to go to the guillotine with all the people they aspire to be.

Words: Still FAIL.

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29 March 2020 - Sunday

Weekend on call is usually quiet, so I tried syncing up with the previous person while lurking in bed, but of course today there is a huge important customer issue and I had to get up and deal with it all day. Finally about mid-afternoon I managed to tell them what they needed to look for on their end, and was able to go out for a walk. At least I know my new WFH setup, complete with large monitor above laptop screen like I had at work, is usable.


Watched:

    Orphan Black 3.10: Season finale! Death and betrayal and plot twists all over!

Read:

  • Yuri is My Job! vol 2 (miman): Extensive backstory explaining how two characters got to where they are, something that would be a confession except surely it's only part of the performance for the cafe theme, a secondary character's secret is revealed (to other characters, the reader already knew), and an afterward about how the manga-ka originally tried to fit every plot point from two whole volumes into the first chapter.

Words: FAIL. I meant to do writing, but am too stupid.

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28 March 2020 - Saturday

Remembering the long line at Trader Joe's last week, we went about an hour before opening again (this time on purpose) and it turned out to work well. Also the store was fully stocked, even with paper goods, which was very reassuring and makes me think I have been right to not panic-shop and hoard because civilization has not yet collapsed.

Safeway was a little better than last time, which is good, because soon Marith will be working there again.Epidemiologically speaking, though, every single microbe in that store is going to come and live with us anyway.

It's still legal to get takeaway, so I got some Thai food because I can't do my usual weekend lunch thing. Om nom nom!

My new computer desk arrived, so I had to move my old computer desk (and computer) and then assemble the new one, but it built character. Now I have a dark computer corner where Marith will have trouble seeing what kind of DMs I am sending people on Slack!

After that, we fought with metastream some more and eventually gave up. As far as I can tell, metastream is equivalent to everyone logging in to the streaming site with their own account and then getting on slack to synchronize hitting Play and talk smack about the show, so it's probably not surprising that it never works for us when we try to have three people and only one account. But it is frustrating.


Watched, at home, on my own TV:


Words: FAIL.

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27 March 2020 - Friday

Well, if we still have Mondays, at least we still have Fridays as well! And finally, for the first time this week, I did not stay in bed until the last possible minute. I did not make good use of the extra time (except for what I spent petting a cat), but I was slightly less unlike a functional adult.

Today was the day of analyzing customer logs, because now customers are settled into our biodystopic hellscape and opening cases again. It might have worked better if I had more focus, but it didn't not work, entirely. It meant I didn't take a walk until after work, but then I walked for like an hour and hardly licked any humans at all.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.19: For a mainstream TV show, their treatment of hackers was not entirely terrible. (On the Internet, no one knows...)
  • Elementary 3.20: That was in fact an amazingly cunning plan, and you definitely could put a tail on it and call it a weasel.

Read:

  • Yuri is My Job! vol 1 (miman): A high-school girl gets roped into working at a cafe themed like the kind of upper-class Christian school seen in Strawberry Panic! and the like. The main character believes she has nothing going for her except looks so her only social skill is putting up a facade of cuteness (which I think has connotations of proper femininity too?) and eventually become a trophy wife, which is not very sympathetic to an American audience, but maybe more so to Japanese?

Words: FAIL.

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26 March 2020 - Thursday

Work. Bah.


Watched:

  • Leverage 3.3: The one where Parker's mentor is somehow not the worst person in the episode.

Read:


Words: FAIL.

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25 March 2020 - Wednesday

First attempt at 13th Age Glorantha over Roll20/Zoom went not too badly. Mike was able to learn from Dave's experience, which is almost unheard of in humans, so good work!

The PCs met some strange people, one of whom was tracking down Mernyr's long-lost uncle purely by scent, and then had a dragonnewt incident in which they were mistaken for wyvern-purchasers and had to skin and bury the one who got decapitated for reporting their words in a displeasing fashion. (That's what Garstal said, anyway, and he does know stuff even if he's mostly full of crap.)


Read:

  • Check Please! vol 1 (Ngozi Ukazu): College hockey, baking, social media, college life, and gay romance.

Words: FAIL.

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24 March 2020 - Tuesday

Work. Blah. Walk. Work. Blah. I did eat some of the stew I got from Black Sheep and it was good once I let the barley absorb liquid and become tasty.

I had an idea for a plot in a setting I already thought up, but I don't know who my protagonist is!


Watched:


Words: FAIL.

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23 March 2020 - Monday

Wait, Monday? We still have those?


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 2.9: Now that's more what we expect from Helena. And it's nice to see Sarah's trick turned back on her. Alison and Donnie really do deserve each other, though.

Read:

  • Mooncakes (Wendy Xu, Suzanne Walker): Nonbinary werewolf, deaf witch, cute smooches, also something about a terrible horse demon stalking the woods. Complete in one volume.

Words: FAIL.

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22 March 2020 - Sunday

Travelling to Palo Alto for gaming is out for all kinds of reasons, so we tried gaming over the Internet. How bad could it be?

Actually, not that bad! Dave had done his homework, so we could use Roll20 for the battle map, but we couldn't get the video and audio to work for everyone simultaneously so we switched to Edie's Zoom account for that and it worked much better. My memory of using zoom for business meetings was that it didn't work very well, but apparently they fixed it!

This week's adventure was a simple bank robbery, with the twist that if a Mysterious Informant hadn't told Nighthawk that the team's communications were compromised, they would have been sent to a different bank all the way across town. Oh, and the additional twist that the bank robbers' backpacks were actually all life-sucking, energy-blasting robots that would try to latch onto bystanders if removed from the original host. That seemed pretty rude and whoever is responsbile will need to be hunted down.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.18: In which a huge conversation about nature and nurture is not had, but one of the horrors of Uber is made manifest. (Actually, I would be surprised if that exact plot hasn't played out at least once, given what I've heard about Uber's culture.)

Words: FAIL.

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21 March 2020 - Saturday

I made a new personal high score, and it's a nice round number, so yay me? I mean, it beats the currently available alternatives. Also I hear it comes with a tiara.

I did not get to sleep in, though, because we had to get up and go shopping first thing in the morning. As it turns out, we could have slept in a bit more, because Trader Joe's hours are changed, but instead we stood in a well-spaced line for 45 minutes and then bought food in a sparsely-occupied and well-sanitized store. We even got toilet paper! No kleenex, though. Then we went to Safeway, to get rarer items, and there was no sanitizing or spacing out, which is unsurprising but also :grimace emoji:.

Instead of going back to bed, I sat around staring into the LCD void, but I finally, after at least a couple of years, won Pixel Dungeon! Level 26, amulet of Yendor, suck it final boss! I'm not going to say it's a great accomplishment, but it's probably about what I deserve to mark the day.

Perhaps more noteworthy, I only a week or so late wrote something for a nonprompt on slack. It is ridiculous but perhaps cute. Mostly ridiculous, though.

Of course in the current situation there can be no parties, but Ayse very nicely got me takeaway dinner from the fancy place down the street, so it was not entirely unfestive. It was dinner for two, so Marith and I ate and watched some Leverage.


Gathering for anime is also non-essential, so we tried watching together through something Ayse discovered called metastream, but it was not notably successful. Aside from the usual issues with audio and video, it sometimes showed some people ads while others kept watching the show, so we were out of sync and the person who spent their time watching ads lost the end of the episode. I know people complain about Kast, but maybe it's still the best of a bad lot.

Watched:

  • Leverage 3.2: The 80s nostalgia episode. Or maybe Sophie's unresolved issues from the 80s episode.
  • RWBY 7.8-10: Hey, look, Ironwood can do the right thing when all other options have been exhausted! Schnee, however, cannot.

Words: Check, surprisingly.

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20 March 2020 - Friday

Yay Friday!


Watched:

  • Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! 2: It's not exactly a secret base, but it has lots of exposition on anime-making. I begin to suspect they won't go anywhere interesting with the adventure sequences, but I might be wrong.
  • The Case Files of Jeweler Richard 3-4: Oh good, Seigi just blurting out whatever happens in his brain is actually being brought up as a plot point! Or possibly even a major element of the series! Cat's eye dad is a git. Garnet lady is pretty awesome and they should have given her Ruby lady's phone number.

Read:

  • Gleipnir vol 6 (Sun Takeda): Extended flashback to male lead's traumatic past, I probably should have reread so I'd know who all these people were. Then, back to the present ultraviolence.

Words: FAIL.

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19 March 2020 - Thursday

I went for a walk at lunch, which was better than spending the entire day staring at a screen, but did not make me actually productive at work.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.16-17: The one about Sherlock's sordid past, and the one about cryonics.

Words: FAIL.

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18 March 2020 - Wednesday

I managed to go for a walk in the afternoon, and buy a few important sandwich supplies. but the supermarket did not have any toilet paper. However, when I went out later to get a lightbulb compatible with the lamp I want to use to make working from home less dark, I found some at the drugstore. I bought one package, because I do not expect the paper goods industry to collapse.

Marith made lime basil tilapia, which was very good.

No actual gaming, because plague stalks the county, but we tried out Google Meet, and it seems okay for chatting, for people with not lacking appropriate hardware (coughDavecough), but might not work well for gaming.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 2.8: Alison and Donnie kind of deserve each other. I'm not sure who deserves Tony, though. And none of these people deserve Felix.

Read:

  • The Promised Neverland vol 14 (Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu): The long-awaited Mr Minerva! Now we know why the demons are demonic, but Emma's doubts seem reasonable.

Words: FAIL.

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17 March 2020 - Tuesday

Yesterday I slept in until I had to get up for work, but it was only okay. Today I tried getting up earlier and reading before work, but that ran into problems at the part where I had to stop reading. Maybe tomorrow I'll get up even earlier and go for a walk to get out of the apartment since I have been indoors continuously since Sunday afternoon.

I need my computer to be awake for music, but having the screen locked works pretty well for keeping me from fussing with it.


The Call Me Maybe video is ridiculously cute.


Watched:

  • Leverage 2.15: End of season two! Nate came through, but he's still not paying Hardison enough. And it looks like that's it for Tara.
  • Leverage 3.1: Marith called it. Also they need to troll Nate a lot more.

Read:

  • Samurai 8 vol 1 (Masashi Kishimoto, Akira Okubo): Uploaded cyborg samurai and robot pets, sure, and I like the visual style (although I think it would do better in color), but the plot and heteronormativity are bleah.
  • The Ancient Magus' Bride vol 12 (Kore Yamazaki): I'm sure the plots with all of Chise's schoolmates are very important, but I'm having a lot of trouble keeping them straight and remembering what their deals are. Too many human characters! But at least Scotland is terrifying.

Words: FAIL.

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16 March 2020 - Monday

Looks like it's legally mandated to stay inside until working from home makes me pull my own brain out. And then three weeks longer.


Marith doesn't have to risk exposure by going to work any more, which is good, but also she has to find a new job for after the shelter-in-place, which is bad and also because the place she was working is dumb and does not deserve people who will do a good job.


Watched:

    Leverage 2.13-14: The one where we see that Parker does have Wis as a dump stat, and the one where Eliot meets baseball (which is the first half of the two-part season finale).

Read:


Words: FAIL.

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15 March 2020 - Sunday

Okay, looks like it really is time for social distancing, which is why I spent almost the entire day in bed. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

It looks bad for gaming, but perhaps we can move to Roll20 or something.


Watched:

  • Steven Universe Future 1-2: I understand wanting more, but so far this is not convincing me that SU shouldn't have ended with the main arc. Or had someone else as the main character for a spinoff.
  • Elementary 3.15: To the Watsoncave!

Words: FAIL.

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14 March 2020 - Saturday

We tried to shop right at opening and almost made it, but the store was packed and many things were already sold out. Stupid panic shoppers!

We were going to watch anime despite Ken being out of town (he has to attend the apotheosis of his Vampire character), but the messaging about social distancing has reached the point where we are persuaded to act like we are part of civilization and not Republicans. Maybe we can watch anime with Kast after Jus and Nonny are abed.

But there will be pizza! Even if Marith is weird and doesn't like Hawaiian pizza.


Watched:


Words: FAIL.

SLANDER by marithlizard (Sun Mar 15 18:08:28 2020)

I like Hawaiian pizza just fine!

Re: SLANDER by Trip (Fri Mar 20 17:18:46 2020)

What, it's not reasonable to expect that you hate pineapple? It doesn't grow in New England!

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13 March 2020 - Friday

If the oddly formatted list in Wikipedia is correct, and I reformatted it correctly, this is my 86th Friday the 13th. And look, I'm hardly any more cursed than I was at the beginning!

Today we finally got the word to work from home for the next two weeks at least. I hate working from home, because my apartment is not really big enough for two people to live in, never mind two people plus an office. But I will do my part to live in a civilization instead of a band of post-apocalyptic hunter-gatherers.

I get to take my big monitor home, at least, but why does it have no handle?

No sign of my card in the other place I might have dropped it. Argh.

Marith tried to go shopping but the store was madness and paucity. Apparently anyone who wants to get stuff needs to show up right at opening or the panic shoppers will have swarmed like locusts.


Watched:

  • Leverage2.12: The one where they have to rescue Nate's ex-wife in Ukraine. I know Sophie's replacement is supposed to be super-hot, but I think Maggie is prettier. I don't understand TV casting.

Read:

  • Circle of Enemies (Harry Connolly): I am disappointed that more people did not buy this book, because I really want to see Ray and Annelise vs the entire Twenty Palaces Society. Even if they don't become primaries, because that might be hard to write. Readers, why are you dumb different than me dumb?!

Words: FAIL.

Leverage by marithlizard (Sat Mar 14 22:10:26 2020)

I agree Maggie is prettier than Tara (as well as cooler), but neither holds a candle to Sophie. (Mostly they make me think "this is what a woman has to look like in Hollywood to get a job, and when you're older than Parker, the cost to the body shows.")

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12 March 2020 - Thursday

The weekly meeting was moved forward because of the time change, so on this day that I didn't want to be late, of course the bus didn't show up. Fortunately I can walk to the train station in time if I walk fast, it just cuts into my sitting-like-a-lump time so I don't usually. But maybe it's good there was no bus, because my transit card is missing again? What the hell? I go for fifteen years without losing it even once, and then lose it twice in a month? Gaaaaaaah.

Antipodean coworker A did the syncup a little early, so I walked fast again and made the train that gets home at an early time when Marith is still cooking and retracing my route has turned up zero (0) lost transit cards so I am I super grouchy. Food makes things a little better.


Read:

  • Child of Fire and Game of Cages (Harry Connolly): Strangely I did not have them on my Kindle, but that was easily corrected! Good thing too, because they are still awesome. I think I like Child of Fire better because it has more Annalise and more antagonism, but Game of Cages still rocks.
  • Ran and the Gray World vol 6 (Aki Irie): Final cleanup and aftermath of the war against the bugs, including tragedy and therapy and very long naps. Apparently this is the penultimate volume.

Words: FAIL.

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11 March 2020 - Wednesday

For the first time this week, I went to work in the morning! It was easier than going to medical stuff, but overall I remain dubious. I did a thing and another thing and found out that new coworker K rides the train down from SF every day, but he is smart enough to have a bike to get from the train station to work. Also he is younger and hipper than me and has tattoos and the giant ear things.

I have a mysterious rash just below the inguinal fold which looks extremely alarming and wasn't there yesterday morning, but the dentist's office disclaims all responsibility (and it's not near anywhere they injected me). I guess it's time for yucky gooey cream.

In further disgusting medical news, my loose tooth (a baby tooth that was never replaced so just hung on and on) which I have been fussing at for weeks now finally accepted its fate and leapt from my gums. Judging by this tooth, I am some kind of goblin that has been in a benighted realm of no dentistry for decades. Even were I young enough for the tooth fairy, I would be ashamed to show it to her.

The train was on fire (or ran into a car that was on fire, or some other bullshit involving at-grade crossings because what even is safety) so I showed a nice lady named Judy where to get the bus that goes to Diridon, and when she said, "it was nice meeting you", I went away, because sheesh, how hard is it to not be horrible?


Read:

  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean (Jenny Han): End of high school, end of the trilogy, end of...? Lara Jean remains adorable and femmetastic and full of baking and vintage clothes. I sort of want to see a sequel about her little sister, though.
  • Hensapherion (FJ Fox): Perfunctory-feeling scifi, no sense of scale, meh romance subplot.

Words: FAIL.

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10 March 2020 - Tuesday

Skived off work again to go to the dentist and have half of my mouth deep-cleaned. It took copious local anesthetic and about two hours, but was not actually painful at the time, and the hygienist was very nice. Also now I have an electric toothbrush which I have been told is actually significant better than a manual.

Even though only one side of my mouth was oppressed, neither biting nor chewing seemed like a good idea, so I had a milkshake for lupper.

Working from home was extremely unproductive, as predicted.

Marith kindly made mashed sweet potatos, and other food that did not require a lot of biting or chewing, so I did not die from dinner.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 2.7: Donnie and Alison may be in the comedy plotline, but that doesn't mean they do only subdual damage.

Read:

  • Mörk Borg (Pelle Nilsson, Johan Nohr): A doom metal RPG of death and bloodshed and two-headed basilisks that accurately prophesy the impending end of the world. (If I'm reading this rule right, the GM rolls a random horrible occurance for each of the first six dawns after the game starts, and on the seventh the world ends.) Everything is terrible and then you die, unless you can somehow stop the apocalypse.

Words: FAIL.

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9 March 2020 - Monday

Skived off work to go to the doctor today. Apparently I am not completely dead but need to stop gaining weight. I'm not sure how to do that in my current life. Maybe eat only the enormous salad for dinner and not any of the (tasty, tasty) other stuff?

Important Coworker A hinted politely that I might work from home instead of bringing public transit germs in to kill myself and everyone in the company. It's a reasonable thing to hint in the current circumstances, but I really don't like working from home. I guess I'll try it tomorrow after my dentist appointment, since I probably can't get into the office at a reasonable time anyway.


Watched:

Read:

  • When We Were Magic (Sarah Gailey): Alexis and her friends manage to hide their magic for years until it all goes horribly horribly wrong and magical backlash and entirely justified feelings and did I mention magic?
  • Teens in Space (Jonathan Gilmour, Doug Levandowski): Supposed to cover any sci-fi setting with teenage pilots and aliens and space combat (eg, Sanderson's Skyward). The die you can be rolling against a target number can be anything from d4 to d20, though, and even if it explodes, that seems like way too big a range for characters to be able to do more than one thing reliably.
  • After School Bitchcraft vol 1 (Yu Shimizu, Kazuma Ichihara): I'm not sure why the title (which I um didn't even notice at first), the main character is perfectly nice, if something of an airheaded gal. She gets sucked into magic by virtue of her druid ancestry, etc etc. The fan service and sexuality is completely gratuitous, though! I mean, what?

Words: FAIL.

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8 March 2020 - Sunday

Gaming is cancelled because Jeremy has the plague (probably not a capitalized Plague, but in this time of incompetent governance, who wants to risk it?). I slept until forever, but tried to not feel too guilty because I am still making up for the week in a hotel.

In the afternoon, despite general failness on my part, we played two games of laser tag. I am terrible at it, but it was fun anyway, and Jus and Nonny really liked it, which was the point. It's like live-action splatoon!


Watched:

    Elementary 3.14: Well, that's not creepy at all, Moriarty! But I'm glad the quagga is okay.

Words: FAIL.

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7 March 2020 - Saturday

Cleaners. Shopping. Zombitude.


I have nothing against my coworkers, but it was good to see my actual friends again and eat Ken's reasonable cooking.

Watched:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 197: That plan may not be as great as Uranus thinks it is!
  • RWBY 7.7: It didn't take Bumblebee long to start going rogue, did it?
  • Chihayafuru 3.21: Extra bonus match between Mishima and Wataya, for reasons that Chihaya continues to be completely ignorant of.
  • Shirobako 7: I'm not sure animator girl is taking that advice correctly. Or even that it's valid advice.

Words: FAIL.

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6 March 2020 - Friday

After another pop quiz on Wednesday's architecture presentation, coworker R came and explained to us about products. He doesn't cuss as much as Senior Engineer A, but it's a near thing.

Instead of having lunch brought to us in our oubliette, we all went out to Olitas and ate vast quantities of Mexican food.

Finally, the offsite ended and I fled back to the bus, despite the rain.


Watched:

  • Leverage 2.11: The one where Nate makes an unwise decision, and Hardison is not shown enough appreciation by his teammates.

Words: FAIL.

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5 March 2020 - Thursday

My turn to have to be alive at 8:00 to sync with the UK person who didn't come. Bah!

I didn't think yesterday's architecture was that comnplicated, but apparently other people were dubious enough about it that we did a pop quiz?

After lunch, some of us went for a walk on the beach. I saw a mysterious bird like a gull except brown. Maybe it was a pelican? If so, it wasn't doing any scoopy thing.

We have the completely windowless interior room, but the sales weasels (not from our company) got the adjacent room with the beach view and made a huge stupid racket, so no one wanted to keep our room past 17:00.

My turn to delay dinner by having to sync with the India person who didn't come. Bah!

Random coworkers A and P came by to have dinner with us at a seafood restaurant on the wharf. A good time was had by all, but once again I would have been okay with getting back to the hotel even earlier. I think I'm old.


Read:

  • Shug (Jenny Han): By the same author as To All The Boys I've Loved Before. A middle-school girl learns that her unexpressed dreams aren't going to come true, but life might be okay anyway. I can't tell when this book is set; 90s? 80s?

Words: FAIL.

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4 March 2020 - Wednesday

No gaming for me today, I am trapped in Santa Cruz doing work to support the capitalist dystopia.

Engineering Executive (VP? Director? I would know and care if I were a good worker) A told us all about the new feature in upcoming version X, which seems like it should work (even though I almost passed out during the post-lunch presentation in the very warm room). We pointed out a few things that might not work optimally, though.

Not everyone wanted a long hike again, so we went to the nearby Thai restaurant. It was only okay; the "tasty duck" was mostly just sweet, which probably goes over well with tourists but I am picky.


Words: FAIL.

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3 March 2020 - Tuesday

Coworker L had to go back over the hill at 4 in the morning because his house was beeping uncontrollably. Then he came back for work because I don't even know why. Functional adulting, I guess.

One of the cases I'm working on got subjected to peer review or something. No pressure.

Today's presentation was on the product roadmap by Founder S, who also stayed for dinner at The Crow's Nest, which was quite lively.

Some of us walked a couple of miles both ways to the restaurant, others only walked back. Apparently I walk faster than most people, even non-Americans.

I should have included antacids in my packing, because restaurants serve huge portions of rich food. Ugh.


Words: FAIL.

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2 March 2020 - Monday

Whee, time for "capitalism takes things that people like doing with their friends and makes them mandatory to do with coworkers", episode 234856399!

I only had to get up a little early to catch the 17 bus to Santa Cruz and get to the offsite site by the time I usually start work, so I guess that was good? It's not a super-fancy hotel, but it does have all beach views all the time — except for the meeting room we will be spending at least eight hours a day in, which has no windows of any kind.

Mostly what we did today was sit in a less-comfortable place, without our office chairs or big monitors, and do the same we work we normally do in the office. We have two of the three UK people and one of the two India people with us, so that's good for team bonding, but otherwise meh. There was a presentation on company financials, which was probably good for the people who hadn't seen it in the Mountain View all-hands the other week. I don't know anything about corporate finance, but it sounds promising.

I missed hearing the dinner plan the first time, so I thought we were on our own and walked to downtown, where I bought a hat and some manga before getting a clue and walking back to the hotel to meet up with everyone. The actual dinner plan was Olitas on the wharf conveniently near the hotel. Because someone on slack was talking about their slow-cooked pork, I had pork verde, and it was good. But late, because for scheduling reasons we can't start migrating toward dinner until after 19:00.

I never sleep well in hotels, but having the balcony door open to let in the night breeze and the sound of the waves was very pleasant.


Words: FAIL.

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1 March 2020 - Sunday

I slept in some, got up for a bit, decided being awake wasn't that great and went back to bed for a little while longer, and didn't wake up until the day was mostly gone. :(


Watched:

    Orphan Black 2.6: "Helena, wait right here and don't do anything" is a plan that was always going to go well.

Words: FAIL.

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29 February 2020 - Saturday

Happy Leap Day!

Today was a routine Saturday with no one in Tahoe or oppressed by cleaners or otherwise thrown off-kilter, yet I still did not get anything done.


Watched:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 196: Oh no! As befits the last season, the boss is the most dangerous enemy yet! But maybe the three teams shouldn't have split up to attack her.
  • RWBY 7.5-6: Robyn Hill and her Happy Huntresses and her run for Council.
  • Chihayafuru 3.19-20: The Master and Queen challenges conclude! Mostly the Master challenge. People who concentrate on karuta too much are weird and don't give good interviews.

Read:

  • "The Next Invasion" (Robert Reed):

Words: FAIL.

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28 February 2020 - Friday

Watched:

  • Leverage 2.9-2.10: The one introducing Sophie's replacement, and the one where Parker is not the worst model ever even if she is probably below average.

Read:

  • PS I Still Love You (Jenny Han): Sequel to To All The Boys I've Loved Before. The boys in this serie are somehow not so terrible that I root for Lara Jean to run away with her best friend, despite being teenagers.
  • "A Tall Tail" (Charles Stross): A late entry in the ancient genre of "improbable but theoretically not impossible things heard at a convention". I would not ride on any of those rockets.

Words: Check, ish.

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27 February 2020 - Thursday

Work.


Read:

  • My Androgynous Boyfriend vol 1 (Tamekou): Slice of life, a manga editor dates a boy who is so fashionable and cute that the uninformed think he's a girl and the lightly informed think he's gay and dating his fellow male model.
  • "The Case of the Somewhat Mythic Sword" (Garth Nix): Cursed younger brother of Sherlock Holmes deals with a haunted pub cellar. Casualties are higher than expected.
  • "Dislocation Space" (Garth Nix): Murdery Russian lady post WWII fits through narrow and alarming spaces.
  • The Devil You Know (KJ Parker): Secondary-world equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci makes a deal with the literal devil.
  • "What Makes a River" (Deborah Coates): You can never stop being a monster hunter.
  • Killing Gravity (Corey J White): Renegade corporate-engineered telekinetic vs the galaxy, with a hapless crew that would be the main characters in another book dragged along in her wake.

Words: FAIL.

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26 February 2020 - Wednesday

It's time for 13th Age Glorantha and Indian food! Kelsey showed up this time, so the fight with the horrible Chaos dogs got even worse, but somehow we did not all die even though the Trickster gave away the escalation die at +4. Eventually we even escaped the Dog Hills, and probably only have a couple of encounters left before we get home.


Read:

  • Imaginary Numbers (Seanan McGuire): The 97863495th "InCryptid" book, finally focusing on the cousin who is secretly a giant telepathic bug and the other cousin who is a half-incubus. I am dubious about some of the biology of the telepathic bugs, but whatever. At the end, they are all dangling from a very high cliff indeed.
  • Fire & Water (Alexis Hall): Further adventures of a lesbian paranormal detective who gets tangled up in all kinds of major supernatural plots. This time, the plot is the continuation of the one from last book, which is even more insidious than expected, and also the protagonist's life becomes even more of a wreck.

Words: FAIL.

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25 February 2020 - Tuesday

Hurray, Kickstarter has successfully voted to unionize! Now I can back a hundred million projects with a clear conscience.


Read:

  • The Unspoken Name (AK Larkwood): Recommended by pocket fronds, because lesbian orc assassin. It does not stretch the boundaries of the genre, but it is well done and has good numinous experiences.
  • False Value (Ben Aaronovitch): I thought the "Rivers of London" series had reached a natural conclusion, but apparently there is more! This is not the strongest book in the series; it could have been denser with cool creepy magic stuff. But it continues to head toward magic being revealed to the world, and has some Beverly. It might be time for the series to switch from Peter to Abigail, though.

Words: FAIL.

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24 February 2020 - Monday

I don't hate Monday, I just hate capitalism.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.13: Well, that's one way to end a relationship.

Read:

  • Lord of Reavers (Harry Connolly): Another short piece of skullduggery and betrayal. There is in fact no honor among thieves.
  • O Maidens In Your Savage Season vol 6 (Mari Okada, Nao Emoto): My dude, that is exactly the wrong point to stop.

Words: FAIL.

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23 February 2020 - Sunday

Ugh, commuting to gaming. Why does everyone live so inconveniently?

The giant nuclear (but at least now it's future nuclear instead of past nuclear) robot having been defended from the Woodland Mammal Squad, Maxis is able to take it out for a spin during some inter-agency search and rescue exercises. All seems well, until Maxis reports that the controls are not responding and then he is ejected in the survival capsule while the robot runs amok! It attacks the Rollers with its high-pressure water cannon, its giant metal limbs, and a missile rack it didn't have before, and seems to have gained the ability to reassemble itself after the Emergency Limb Detachment Protocol is activated, but eventually Anonymouse gets into the cockpit and dislodges the metallo-organic alien that has taken control! No one knows where it came from -- lurking in Maxis's underwater base? -- but although it caused a lot of property damage, including sinking a Coast Goard ship, it didn't seriously hurt anyone, so the Rollers are able to take it into their own custody and try to open communications.

Technically there should be one more issue, but Dave declared this the end of the collection. Maybe we'll even remember to use our collection bonuses someday!


Watched:


Words: FAIL.

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22 February 2020 - Saturday

I'm pretty sure I support prison abolition since the underlying idea is "what if we made society so much less horrible that people didn't have to crime?".


Ayse and Ken have taken Jus and Nonny to Tahoe to experience snow, so we have only pizza and Marith showing Dave RWBY.

Watched:

  • RWBY 7.1-4: Finally, Atlas, and Ironwood's new beard and a rival NPC team who are taking up too much screen time.

Read:

  • "The Bone Orchid", "A Businessman of Pald" (Harry Connolly): More short fiction, skullduggery and betrayal in the fantasy city of Pald.
  • Interspecies Reviewers vol 3 (Amahara, masha): The hint of plot has been dropped and replaced with an entirely different hint of plot.

Words: FAIL.

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21 February 2020 - Friday

Why am I at work? Why am I not in bed? How have I managed to live my life so wrong?

Why are people using my laundry machines?


Watched:

  • Leverage 2.8: The one where Hardison is actually an okay Parker, with enough help.

Read:

  • Kill Me Softly (Sarah Cross): An orphaned teenager runs away from home to find her parents' graves, and falls in with a crowd fated to play out fairy-tale roles in the modern world, and not the Disney versions either. Exactly which fairy tales would be a spoiler, but love and death may be involved.
  • "Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths", "Soldiers of a Dying God", "Another Man's Burden", "The Blood Cord" (Harry Connolly): Short stories, full of doom and death but sometimes hope (okay, maybe that's just "Soldiers of a Dying God", which is my favorite of these). These Kindle editions all have the first chapter of Child of Fire, which makes me want to reread it.

Words: FAIL.

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20 February 2020 - Thursday

I'm not too sick to go to work, or even stay at work until forever o'clock, but maybe it's for the best that it was a quiet day.


Read:

  • The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles (Andy Remic): Pretty much what it says on the tin. Omnibus trilogy of grim and doomed fighting-men struggling against the invasion of the clockwork cyborg vampires and horrible subterranean creatures and worse. Many people are traumatized, killed, or turned into monsters without regard for their personal merit. Not progressive in the slightest.
  • Komi Can't Communicate vol 5 (Tomohito Oda): Obligatory School Festival Sequence. Komi does say a few words, though.

Words: FAIL.

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19 February 2020 - Wednesday

Marith kindly did me a convey to get my computer from the Apple Store before I went to 13th Age Glorantha and Greek food. Eventually I may even have enough spoons to try plugging it in again, but right now there is only coughing.

As usual, Kelsey apologized for missing this week, promised she'd make it this time, and didn't.

This session, our intrepid Orlanthi got chased away by a bunch of rock-wielding Balazarings and their stinky dogs because they don't like people who get victimized by the local Lunar incubus-spirits, and then found a mythologically resonant ruined homestead full of Chaos dogs right where they wanted to go. Guess that's why this region is called the Dog Hills!


Words: FAIL.

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18 February 2020 - Tuesday

Monday + Tuesday = Bleah.

Apple Store called, they cannot reproduce my issue. I guess I'll take the computer back and see if being in the same horrible environment causes it to recur. If it does, I can take pictures or upgrade to a newer OS or buy a power supply or something.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 2.5: I guess it's not like we didn't know Rachel is creepy and awful and Paul is a corrupt murderer.

Words: FAIL.

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17 February 2020 - Monday

Only slept in too much, instead of way too much, because I am feeling better. (Cough syrup may have helped.) Managed to go shopping in time to meet up with Ayse & Fam to go to the kitten cafe, but oh NO! Mini Cat Town is closed on Mondays now! No kittens for us!

I did some more shopping and got my cranial tendrils shortened instead, which was not nearly as fuzzy.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.12: End of Kitty's plot arc, but maybe she will come back.

Read:

  • Aphos (Andrew Mar): 90% pictures of pretty and mostly naked angel/demon/satyr/fey/mermaid/etc girls, in monochrome pen and ink with sometimes accents of gold or red. Individually they are all quite nice, and I reblogged many of them when they appeared on tumblr, but almost none of them have a background or any context, so a whole book of them is a bit much. Also the artist has a weird thing where he doesn't draw noses dipping in at the bridge, which makes the faces less unique.

Words: Check, somehow.

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16 February 2020 - Sunday

Am I sick? I don't feel particularly sick but all night I had that thing where all temperatures are either too hot or too cold and some are both at once. I tried sleeping in, but that didn't seem to help.

In the afternoon we took my poor sick iMac to the Apple Store, but of course the problem had demanifested so they had to take it into the back and will let me know if they figure anything out after letting it run for a couple of days.


Watched:

  • Birds of Prey: All my pocket fronds said this move is great, and they did not lead me astray! It is definitely a villain show, Harley is a terrible person at the beginning of the movie and maybe only a little better at the end, but her enemies are so much worse that we root for her anyway. The fragile male is not treated with any respect, there is not much cheesecake, the hyena is properly adored. Much ass is kicked. Multiple tentacles up!
  • The Good Place 2.4: Wait, what? Is that... foreshadowing?

Read:

  • Cthulhu in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, Kent David Kelly): What it says on the tin. It's not actually like neural net output, it's too well interwoven for that. Like Someone turned Alice in Wonderland into a book-length Mad Lib, and then someone filled it in from The Complete Works of HP Lovecraft.

Words: Check, kinda.

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15 February 2020 - Saturday

Hurray! My new transit card finally arrived! Now I can stop having to remember to fulfill prerequisites!


Yes, good customers! Stay quiet while I am on call!


Watched:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 195: Oh no! The final villain is here! And Usagi's dumbness about Mamoru is now revealed! Doom for everyone on every level! Especially Jus, who wants to keep watching but has to go to bed!
  • RWBY 6.13: Ruby saves the day! But not by herself. And is it really going to matter in the face of Salem's winged monkeys?
  • Chihayafuru 3.17-18: Master and Queen matches continue, with strategy and tactics and also Suo's tragic secret revealed!

Words: Check, I guess.

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14 February 2020 - Friday

Three different people brought donuts for the office today. I did my part, but that's a lot of donuts!


Since Avalon ghosted me, I guess I'll celebrate Valentine's Day by changing my phone wallpaper to something other than a picture of her.


Watched:

  • Leverage 2.7: The one with the rival team.

Read:

  • An Easy Death (Charlaine Harris): Alternate-history Western, where the US fell apart in early C20 and the exiled Russian royalist took over the West Coast because they have actual wizards. The main character is a young gunslinger who gets mixed up in Russian intrigues, and is just as badass as any male action hero ever was. I think it would make a good movie.

Words: FAIL.

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13 February 2020 - Thursday

Ugh, I figured my lost Clipper card that I reported on Saturday should be here by now, but no.


Read:

  • Rosewater (Tade Thompson): An ex-thief infected with psychic powers tries to live his life in future Nigeria, in a city built around an alien biodome. The aliens are very incomprehensible, making the world quite bizarre. Very similar voice to The Murders of Molly Southbourne.

Words: FAIL.

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12 February 2020 - Wednesday

As usual, Kelsey bailed at the last minute, but the rest of us gathered for 13G and Mexican food. (Because it turns out pig meat is not much worse for the environment than bird meat, and way better than cheese, I had a carnitas burrito. I didn't not enjoy it, but I think I don't mind having bird meat instead most of the time.) This session, we found out what happened to Jornandona when she accidentally took flight after stealing a magical bird suit (blown by the wind, captured by giant hawk, rescued by surprisingly non-terrible giant hawk rider of Balazar, returned mostly unscathed), and encountered something that seduced Mernyr by taking the form of the Lunar from the Mad Sultanate who was nice to them. This was Not Okay, no matter what she might have yelled at the time, but the illusion+chaos+life+law creature was able to discorporate so she couldn't tear it limb from limb. This time.


Read:

  • Silent Hall (NS Dolkart): Five teenagers get a divine quest just ahead of a massive divine curse, adventure and dragons and crippling injury and unprotected sex and annoying wizards and other such fun stuff. By a friend of a pocket frond.
  • Honor Lost (Rachel Caine, Ann Aguirre): Conclusion to the trilogy about a human criminal who manages to become friends with a psychic space whale. In the second book, our heroes discover the vast universe of aliens that had been hidden from them for dubious reasons and cause a lot of havoc that gets cleaned up in this one. The plot from back on Earth in book one also comes home to roost, although I kind of would rather have seen it be negligible on the new scale. Also, three-way with psychic space whale.

Words: FAIL.

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11 February 2020 - Tuesday

At least it's not Monday any more.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 2.4: Oh good, they didn't write Felix out! And they hinted that something more is up with Sarah and the rest. But we could do without torture scenes.

Read:

  • Paladin's Grace (T Kingfisher): It's like fluffy romance, only with doom and more doom and conspiracy and perfume and monsters and tragic grief and PTSD and small fluffy mammals, because Ursula Vernon!

Words: FAIL.

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10 February 2020 - Monday

Boo, Monday.


We tried to take my poor broken computer to the Apple Store, but the line was too long so we made an appointment for Sunday and went back home and ate leftovers and died in a pit. Just one pit, for me. No pits for Marith.


Words: FAIL.

no pits by marithlizard (Wed Feb 12 20:14:30 2020)

You're just saying that because you know I don't like avocados. :)

Re: no pits by Trip (Thu Feb 13 21:39:11 2020)

You don't know that you don't like avocados! Or modern Brussels sprouts!

re: avocados by marithlizard (Thu Feb 13 22:08:03 2020)

I do know! The space penguins assured me!

Re: avocados by Trip (Fri Feb 14 21:05:09 2020)

And the space penguins are always reliable.

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9 February 2020 - Sunday

It's a good thing I like gaming, or I would never commute to Palo Alto an extra day every fortnight to play SCRPG and eat cuñapes.

The Atlantic City Rollers get their contact The Midnighter to analyze the records they got from the warehouse last issue, and he traces the shenanigans to a couple of locations, an industrial site on the edge of town, and an office park in a nearby city. Anonymouse goes in undercover to check out the industrial site, and finds a hidden, secured location with an elevator leading to a secret base under the river! Successful businessman John Maxis intercepts her there, and graciously shows her around the secret supervillain lair he found abandoned and fixed up, including the giant nuclear robot that he had inherited plans for and always wanted to build, because giant robot! He even invites the rest of the team down to see it, and explains that he has no intention of doing anything with the robot, he just wanted to build it. Feathers and The Mechanic cannot fault his logic, and even Moth understands the appeal of Giant Robot, despite not liking either billionaires or unregulated nuclear reactors in her hometown, never mind secret bases with giant robots that attract supervillains.

At this point, the small-woodland-mammal-themed supervillain team appears, brandishing a paper that says they own this base and everything in it and are authorized to use force to evict squatters. That is not how any of this works, and too many people present know it, so the leader has his goon with powered gauntlets throw Moth through a wall, and the fight is on! This is the first time the Rollers have fought an entire superteam, and it's not much fun, but electric bracelets, a knight-themed jerk with a huge shield standing in front of the leader, and egregious sadism cannot stand up to justice!

Title of this episode: "Nuclear Robot III: All Your Base Are Belong To Us".


Watched:

  • RWBY 7.13: Season finale. Apparently there is great discourse about this episode on tumblr. I think I'll stay over here.
  • The Good Place 2.2-3: In which Michael's plan really really doesn't work, so he makes a new one and it isn't immediately seen through.

Words: FAIL.

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8 February 2020 - Saturday

For the first time in... IDEK, a couple of years? I got up and showered before the cleaners came, so I was ready to go shopping as soon as they left (which was not in good time, but I'm not going to complain, it beats doing my own cleaning). But then I spent too long talking about tarantulas keeping pet frogs on Slack and almost missed the bus and did somehow lose my bus pass (and also my keycard for work, which was attached).

Ordering a replacement pass was as easy as it should be, but I will have to manually pay to go places for some unknown number of days. Blah.


Watched:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 193-194: Oh no, the villains figured it out! And the Starlights have accomplished their goal, so now...?
  • RWBY 6.12: Huntresses vs giant robot continues, but now we know why they even have that robot.
  • Chihayafuru 3.15-16: No wonder nobody likes Suo, he has the most annoying play style ever! But will Harada-sensei be able to take the title from him anyway?
  • Chihayafuru 3.15½: Silly recap episode. Not sure what it's doing between 15 and 16, but whatever.

Words: FAIL. I should have done something with the afternoon, but I did not, because I am too stupid and also can't write about feelings.

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7 February 2020 - Friday

It's Friday! We made it!


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.11: We knew there was going to be a plot twist, and also that Watson wasn't going to end up sticking with the thing, but I wasn't expecting that!

Read:

  • Far From You (Tess Sharpe): YA love, trauma, addiction, death, grief, murder, drugs, and other feelings-inducing events. I can read about feelings, but this is one of those books that reminds me I have no idea how to write about feelings.
  • Shadow of the Demon Lord (Robert J Schwalb): Much like recent editions of D&D, although not quite, and harsher (insanity and demonic corruption accumulate as well as damage and any of them can take you out; no short rests; little in the way of extra hit points from levelling; etc), and a D&D-like setting with extra emphasis on demonic incursion, moral decay, and general grimness. Apparently has a huge number of small supplements. This PDF had some random blank (unrenderable?) pages, but I don't think they ate anything important.

Words: FAIL.

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6 February 2020 - Thursday

I was supposed to do work today, but I don't think I really did. At least I stayed in the office until forever? (Not really forever, I just suck.)


Read:

  • Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out! vol 2 (Take): It seems like they might actually get together, someday, unless Male Lead flees in terror introverted annoyance.
  • The Raven and the Reindeer (T Kingfisher): Retelling of "The Snow Queen", with not only animals, but plants, bandits, old ladies, magic both formal and informal, and determination.
  • The Seventh Bride (T Kingfisher): This really feels like a fairy tale retelling, but although it has many of the elements, I think it is original. It's definitely more horror than most of the other Kingfisher stories, but still full of practicality and determination and also hedgehogs.
  • Arkad's World (James L Cambias): It should have been interesting, but the characterization was very meh (especially the romance subplot) and there was a big revelation that made things less interesting.

Words: FAIL.

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5 February 2020 - Wednesday

Brooks is sick and Kelsey never shows up, so we had no 13G, but we did have Gloomhaven and Costco pizza. Since my murder rat retired, I started playing the tiefling paladin, who is alleged the best tank in the game. Unfortunately I did not have time to look up what the best higher-level cards were, and the first-level cards have some deficiencies, like no attacks. Nevertheless, we completed the adventure, due to some amazing use of loss cards by the more competent characters. Wheee!


Read:

  • The Halcyon Fairy Book (T Kingfisher): Half obscure fairy tales with Ursula Vernon commentary, half the complete text of her retold fairy tales collection Toad Words. Why am I not this funny?

Words: FAIL.

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4 February 2020 - Tuesday

Blargh, work. Nobody likes work. Work does not go baaa.


Watched:

  • Leverage 2.6: In which Parker is probably not actually the worst magician's assistant ever.

Read:

  • Stars Uncharted (SK Dunstall): Space adventure, oddly unsatisfying. One of the main characters is an expert in using a particular piece of fictional technology that is central to her plotline at least, but although the author can sort of convey what it it's like to work with a machine, how the machine works is very fuzzy. My disbelief was not suspended.
  • Upright Women Wanted (Sarah Gailey): Post-peak-oil-future Western, queer librarians against fascism.
  • Irontown Blues (John Varley): Eight Worlds × Noir Detective, plus enhanced dog PoV. Follows on from Steel Beach, so pretty early on in the timeline. Insufficiently transhuman, despite the dog.

Words: FAIL. Still no computer. Still no brain.

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3 February 2020 - Monday

Boo, Monday! But I did get up successfully, and also did some work in a not-completely-incompetent fashion, so yay?


Eaten:

  • Cream garlic spinach gnocchi!
  • Parsnip fries
  • Asparagus

Watched:

  • Orphan Black 2.3: Huh, I thought he would have been more random than that, but I suppose the show is about family a lot. Also about murders.

Read:

  • The Darkdeep (Ally Condie, Brendon Reichs): Four middle-schoolers find a mysterious thing in a creepy place, and use its powers for their own amusement until everything goes horribly wrong. Also, a Radish Festival.

Words: FAIL. It's not my fault, my main computer is on the fritz! Until I take it to the Apple store to get defritzed, I have no Scrivener capability!

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2 February 2020 - Sunday

Apparently I can outwit my lethargy simply by putting my phone where I can't reach it without getting out of bed. (I did then go back to bed after doing a bit of morning stuff, but that was because I determined that I was still tired from sleeping poorly, and it ended up not even being that satisfying.) Who would have thought?


Watched:

  • RWBY 7.12: That was just dumb. Even I write better than that.
  • The Good Place 1.13: The big reveal! Go Eleanor!

Read:

  • Count Fujiwara's Suffering (Mahito Aobe): Two sisters, a hikikomori livestreamer and a middle-schooler with a sister complex, as seen by their poor oppressed cat. Raunchy, but does have kind of a plot arc, or at least a resolution.

Words: FAIL. I still don't know what to do, or how to do it.

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1 February 2020 - Saturday

Because I am still the worst at getting up, I wasted the entire morning and part of the afternoon before doing anything useful, and then had no time to not do things. Bah.

Ayse and Jus and Nonny are over being sick, but Ken is still in the middle of it and does not feel up to dealing with food in any way, so I brought Chinese takeaway and at least Jus and Ayse and I were happy.


Watched:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 191-192: Is it Chibi-Chibi? Or is it her new incense burner? Or is it Usagi's broken heart?
  • RWBY 6.11: YAY BUMBLEBEE! Oh, and there was some giant robot action, or something.
  • Shirobako 6: That guy still sucks, but at least he was not able to prevent traditional animators and CGI animators from bonding.
  • Chihayafuru 3.14: Old guys for the win!

Words: FAIL. But Ayse had things to say about kids and going to adults for help with minor issues like fractured bones and supervillain attacks.

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31 January 2020 - Friday

Brain, brain! What is brain?!


Watched:

  • The Good Place 4.13: The finale! It is very sad, as it must be, but also very correct for every one of the characters.

Read:

  • Starfire: A Red Peace (Spencer Ellsworth): It's like Star Wars with the magic swords and evil empire and destiny and psychic powers, but grittier, like the "Hellflower" books, and a bit weirder.

Words: FAIL. Ugh, everything I have is terrible and the whole thing should be disposed of in a subduction zone, never to be seen again. Too much happens for no good reason! Also there needs to be a reason for the characters to not go to adults with their problems. (I'm thinking of all the stories where the kids discover something awesome that adults would take away, so they keep it secret even when it turns out to be trouble.)

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30 January 2020 - Thursday

I was at work late last night, so tonight must be Friday, right? Right? Right?

At least there was lightly-breaded salmon.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.10: Chekhov's plant geneticist. But Sherlock was not terrible, even if there is going to be a lot of drama with Kitty soon.

Read:

  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before (Jenny Han): Teen romance about a girl who deals with her crushes on unattainable boys by writing love letters to them and never ever sending them, which cannot possibly go wrong. She is not a particularly strong female character, but I can totally sympathize with being scared of things like driving.

Words: CHECK, I guess.

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29 January 2020 - Wednesday

For the first time in approximately 623427 years, I have been to a dentist! They were very nice (possibly too cheerful) and did not abuse me for letting my teeth go without maintenance for so long, but some maintenance will have to happen. The tooth that I thought I broke is actually a baby tooth that was never displaced but has finally let go, and has to come out. The tooth I knew was dead is dead and has to come out. The crown that I was told would probably last for a decade, ten years ago, has to be replaced. But first, two appointments of deep cleaning, which is rigorous enough to require anaesthesia.

No gaming tonight, too many people are busy. Instead I made the tragic sacrifice of staying late at work so that coworkers could go to the company party in San Francisco with booze and barbecue.

Marith made butternut squash sage ravioli with spinach and goat cheese, which was good to come home to.


Read:

  • Mortal Engines (Philip Reeve): Postapocalyptic future, airships, everyone lives on giant mobile cities, scavenging the ruins of the past for things better left dead. Pretty much YA adventure (teen protagonists, no sex or significant gore) but with a remarkably high body count.

Words: CHECK.

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28 January 2020 - Tuesday

La la work la.


Watched:

  • Leverage 2.5: The one where Parker is not the worst small-time TV news reporter.

Read:

  • The Best of Uncanny (ed Lynne M Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas): Short stories and poetry from Hugo-winning semiprozine Uncanny, featuring such authors as T Kingfisher and Arkady Martine. I am not worthy to judge the poems, but all the prose pieces are good, which is pretty unusual for an anthology. Pretty much every piece would cause the sad/rabid puppies to die of apoplexy, so that's good!
  • Prosper's Demon (KJ Parker): Unpleasant but cunning exorcist vs cunning demon possessing that world's equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci. There is much cunning, and also art.
  • Stars of Empire Referee's Handbook (Terry N Sofian): More world-building, crushed under a pile of terrible game design. I still haven't found the book that tells me about Mars, but this one has information on the giant bug monsters that almost ate England, so that's good.
  • On the Shoulders of Giants (Chance Phillips): OSR, everyone lives on the floating bodies of the 12 Olympians after they murdered each other, new gross classes related to living on giant dead bodies.

Words: CHECK, technically.

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27 January 2020 - Monday

Ew, Monday.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 2.2: We always suspected Mrs S was terrifying.

Words: CHECK, barely.

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26 January 2020 - Sunday

Another day without no commute, but at least this time instead of work, it's SCRPG and also gaming munchies! I don't know how to spell the name of the tapioca-cheese orbs Jeremy makes, but I can apparently eat an unlimited number of them.

This time the Atlantic City Rollers interrogated the captured supervillains before turning them over to the Feds, and learn about the criminal conspiracy Gears and Lightning and the suspicious shipping company American Transport Unlimited. They also decide the robot-maker from last issue is redeemable, he just fell in with a bad crowd, and promise to look out for him.

After an investigatory montage in New York involving robotic Hot Wheels cars and shipping containers, the Rollers find that the ATU facility in Atlantic City is prone to containers dropping out of the system and other shenanigans, so The Mechanic gets the fully-automated facility to ignore Anonymouse and she sneaks in to get a look at their records. But it seems that someone has already been opening up their filing cabinets, and when she tries to take a look, the chair attacks!

The shapeshifting villain has also brough several knight-themed powered troopers and some snipers with lasers that punch right through intervening shipping containers, and also the building catches on fire, but eventually, somehow, the Rollers prevail with only Feathers actually getting knocked out.

It is agreed, this issue is "Nuclear Robot II: Laser Boogaloo".


Watched:

  • RWBY 7.11: Yep, that's some doom. Even if certain parts are not true, it's still a lot of doom, and also not very sensible on Ironwood's part.
  • The Good Place 1.12: Finally, the Medium Place! Too bad Jason and Janet didn't think to ask Mindy St Clair for advice. Shawn is The Worst.
  • The Way of the Househusband vol 2 (Kousuke Oono): Much like the first volume, ex-Yakuza tries to do housewife stuff, like yoga and posting pictures of his cooking on Instagram.

Words: FAIL. I have no excuse, I just suck. Also my computer is in the kitchen, which is a stupid place for it. But larger apartments in Mountain View are very expensive.

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25 January 2020 - Saturday

I am still the very worst at getting up, but I did eventually manage to go grocery shopping. That is not much accomplishment for an entire day.


Ken made some super upsetting sandwiches of deep-fried togu, spaghetti squash salad, and General Tso's sauce for dinner. They were surprisingly good! Then he whisked Jus off to his company party, but Nonny was too tired to go, so Ayse remained behind to put him down and then we watched some anime without them.

Nigh-weekly anime:

  • RWBY 6.9-10: I argue with Marith, but she's right that there had to be a better way to deal with getting to Atlas.
  • AKB0048 10-13: Some more training episodes, and then the main girls return to their homeworld as fully-fledged fledgling AKB! The swimsuit episode was not as bad as it could have been, because no one agreed with the one girl who agonized over her figure. My belief that the kiraras eat people is still viable. Both WOTA and DES are deeply weird. Perhaps we will learn more in the next season.

Words: FAIL.

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24 January 2020 - Friday

I almost had to be on call this weekend, but coworker M is feeling better.


Watched:

  • The Good Place 4.12: That was a good problem and a good solution, but cramming it into one episode after the conclusion of the main plotline didn't do Patty justice.
  • The Good Place 1.11: The one where Michael tries to use guilt, but Eleanor is too good.

Read:

  • Atomic Accidents (James Mahaffey): An examination of all the ways in which humans are not smart enough to handle radioactive or fissionable material, from radium-based snake oil up through Chernobyl and Fukushima. Aside from numerous facepalmings, it conveyed to me a sense of just how finally balanced fission reactors are, and how easy it is to make a pile of moderately radioactive glop turn into a horrifying blue flash of death. Also, the technology that was standardized for civilian power plants after it worked well in the completely different context of submarines is pretty dumb. That said, nuclear power is not what's going to kill us all.
  • Remedial Rocket Science (Susannah Nix): Romance by the wife of a pocket frond. No actual rocket science involved, but it was cute and mushy.
  • Siryn (CE Murphy): An inversion of The Little Mermaid, where the mermaid is not little or helpless or voiceless, and the prince gets what's coming to him. G 24 Jan 2020: The World Beneath The Clouds (Terry Sofian): Venus sourcebook for Stars of Empire. Lots of detail but not necessarily the detail I find interesting to read. At least it has some information about the alien invasions and terraforming of Mars and such in the back. (Aliens suck.)

Words: CHECK, barely.

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23 January 2020 - Thursday

In the weekly training meeting, I knew some things that my coworkers did not, which always makes me happy. But they knew things I didn't, so it evens out.

Then I stayed at work until forever because it's Thursday.


Words: FAIL. I still blame capitalism.

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22 January 2020 - Wednesday

This week no one was sick and only one person was busy, so we had Ethiopian food and 13G as planned.

I continue to be absolutely terrible at playing a leader type, I don't even know why I bother. Fortunately, Ken's character was able to save us from our own incompetence by having a literal carte blanche that no one knows (in character) where he picked up. Now instead of spending a season being Illuminated, the PCs are on their way back towards home, undeterred by a partial walktapus crawling out of the river. (They killed it with fire.)


Read:

  • The Secret Chapter (Genevieve Cogman): Book six in the series about a heroic librarian in a multiverse of order dragons, chaos fae, intrigue, and skulduggery. This time the intrigue and skulduggery are dragon-oriented, and hint at the history of the whole system.
  • Sal and Gabi Break The Universe (Carlos Hernandez): Unashamedly wacky, like Daniel Pinkwater, but more Cuban-American. I really liked it, even though the main character is a guy. (I seem to recall 8th-grade boys being much worse horndogs, but possibly middle-schoolers have gotten better since my day, or probably middle-schoolers have always been better than I was.)

Words: FAIL. I blame capitalism.

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21 January 2020 - Tuesday

Marith survived her first day at work!


Watched:

  • Leverage 2.4: I would scowl at Sophie being all emotional over a kid if Eliot hadn't done it last episode. But this show is still ridiculous.

Words: CHECK. Wrote a little more, although I'm getting to the end of what I know and will have to make stuff up, which is the part I'm really worried about sucking all the energy out.

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20 January 2020 - Monday

No work today. But I did not do anything appropriate to the holiday, I was just useless.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.9: You'd think Sherlock would take his sobriety more seriously with such a pointed example of Drugs in front of him! But I guess he is, he just isn't happy about it, which is fair.

Words: CHECK. Making tables of scenes and plot points wasn't working as well as I hoped, so I am writing what is labelled "prose outline" because I could not remember the word "synopsis" to save my life. It's possible this will destroy all desire to write the story in detail, but at least then I'll know!

Make a comment!

19 January 2020 - Sunday

First SCRPG of the new year!

Nighthawk gets information from a retired hero of past generations, the Midnighter, about someone planning to build a nuclear-powered giant robot according to old Nazi blueprints. The information checks out, so the Rollers alert the locations most likely to be raided for materials and wait for villains to appear.

The first sign of potential trouble is when the Rollers are called to the one place in the region that has significant amounts of nuclear materials, a decommissioned reactor that is having its remaining spent fuel transferred to another site — the ideal time for someone to try to make off with it. And indeed, the black helicopters full of commandoes and hazmat transport powered armor workers attack just then! The villains have a plan, and the protestors that flock to any mention of the word "nuclear" effectively take themselves hostage, but the Rollers soon sort things out. Only two of the transport workers manage to take off, and Moth and Feathers knock them out of the sky.

Sadly, no information is forthcoming from the captured goons, so the Rollers don't know to show up and protect the one place that makes submarine hull plates suitable for use as giant robot armor until they get a call from the security guard about strange goings-on.

This time there is an actual supervillain, glowing brightly and blustering while robots make off with stacks of metal plates. There are also robots that make robots, and make guns to hand to newly-made robots, but they aren't that great without the direct intervention of their creator, who Moth finds lurking nearby. The robot-maker is scarpery, and the glowing lady is zappy, but they are still no match for the Atlantic City Rollers!

Next week, back on schedule, we hope.


Watched:

    RWBY 7.10: That's actually a really good time to make a morale-raising annoucement, but I think the writers still have no idea how numbers work. Leverage 2.3: That was pretty legitimately terrifying, although I still have no sympathy for hedge-fund bro.

Words: FAIL.

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18 January 2020 - Saturday

I had to answer a customer question right when I was already awake to start being on call, but then I went back to sleep for about five hours because I am COMPLETELY USELESS. At least the customers did not demand utility of me.

Marith got burgers to celebrate her new job! Hurray!

Ayse had medical drama slice-of=life yesterday and was still pretty out of it, so we did not have much anime. But Jus got two episodes of Sailor Moon like she always wants!

Nigh-weekly anime:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 189-190: Just because everyone knows everyone else's secret IDs doesn't mean they will work together, apparently.
  • RWBY 6.7-8: Maria's backstory, and also her Hunted.

Read:


Words: FAIL.

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17 January 2020 - Friday

Not only did Marith get a job today, she got promoted to full-time before she's even started! She's still underemployed, but it's better than nothing!


Watched:

  • The Good Place 4.11: Aw, that was sweet. Wait, is that the end? But there's another episode!
  • Orphan Black 2.1: Picking up the doom right where season 1 left off. Is this the time that Art will finally get told what's going on, or will he be left hanging like the last four times someone said they were going to dish?

Read:

  • The Iron Will of Genie Lo (FC Yee): Sequel The Epic Crush of Genie Lo and pretty much wraps up the story. More obnoxious gods, more demons, and college visits, plus epilogue.
  • Race to the Sun (Rebecca Roanhorse): Middle-schooler vs Navajo mythology. From the Rick Riordan Presents line of own-voices non-white mythology YA fantasy, which so far has been pretty swell.

Words: FAIL.

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16 January 2020 - Thursday

It was windy and threatening to rain this morning, so I tried out this "layers" concept. It seemed to work okay.


Read:

  • Woman World (Aminder Dhaliwal): One day, men stop being born. Sometime around then, civilization goes through a rough patch. In the aftermath, a village of women are trying to live their lives. Simple art, one or two pages per episode, made me laugh.
  • Dreamstorm (MCA Hogarth): Back to life-threatening drama, and one partner rushing off to save the other, but all's well that ends well.
  • Family (MCA Hogarth): Space elf finally takes skunktaur back to his planet to meet his family. Space elf world is pretty horrible, and so are a lot of the space elves, but this series is all about family.

Words: FAIL. I suck.

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15 January 2020 - Wednesday

Mike is out due to germs, and Kelsey is out due to capitalism, so that left the four of us to play Roll for the Galaxy and eat Thai food. First game: Brooks won. Second game: Ken won, but the rest of us tied for second. Third game: Dave won, but I came in second.


Read:

  • Best Left Buried: The Crypt Collection (Zachary Cox): A simple and very grim dungeon-crawling game, where you have to spend SAN-equivalent to use any of your class abilities (in addition to losing it when confronted with scenes of unimaginable horror) and can only regain it by going mad.
  • Mindline (MCA Hogarth): Sequel to Mindtouch. Space elf leaves his partner to do a very prestigious medical residency and everything goes horribly wrong. Did I mention the special psychic link they have? (Not that ridiculous, they're both psychic to begin with.) It's much more important in this volume.
  • Dreamhearth (MCA Hogarth): Unlike the life-threatening drama of the previous book, this time our heroes only have to persuade a space station that they deserve residency permits. Also money woes, rival therapists, conniving grandmas, and extremely dangerous scones.

Words: FAIL. I blame me.

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14 January 2020 - Tuesday

Marith had a job interview today! Even if they are wise enough to hire her, she will be underemployed, but it's better than retail standing!


Read:

  • Beneath The Missing Sea (Sam Sleney, Zachary Cox, Ben Brown): Yesterday there was a 40-mile-wide inland sea here, now there's just a huge hole with no water, and all the things that used to be safely underwater are scuttling like cockroaches. A hexcrawl adventure setting, nominally for Best Left Buried, but easily convertible to any system where making up monster stat blocks is easy.
  • A Witch's Printing Office vol 1 (Mochinchi, Yasuhiro Miyama): I had hoped this would be about printing and bookbinding in a fantasy world, and some of it is, but mostly it's about Comiket in a fantasy world, which is not as interesting to me.
  • My Room Is A Dungeon Rest Stop vol 1 (Tougoku Hudou, Takaya Kiyoshi): Male lead gets an apartment in downtown Tokyo super-cheap because it connects to a fantasy dungeon full of slimes and goblins. Female lead is buxom and helpless and often underdressed and easily duped, so bleah. Also, we need better fantasy worlds.
  • Monster of the Week (FT Lukens): Sequel to The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, further adventures of hapless bi (pan?) boy trying to survive high school while working as an assistant cryptid wrangler/diplomat and his hot boyfriend and token straight friend and threatened by parents, TV reporters, and dog monsters. Bridger is such a good-hearted disaster.

Words: Shockingly, CHECK. Because I am now counting anything more than zero.

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13 January 2020 - Monday

Oogh, Monday the 13th. Most accursed day of the calendar. 5-hour customer meeting, although it did all go smoothly.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.8: Almost made the NYPD seem sympathetic for a moment! Also I am glad they have not dropped Sherlock's sobriety stuff even after two seasons.

Read:

  • The Promised Neverland vol 13 (Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu): Hey, look, it's some hope! I wonder how this will go horribly wrong and require Emma and Ray to brain their way out?
  • Mindtouch (MCA Hogarth): Platonic love story between a genetically-engineered ace skunktaur and a genetically-engineered-but-in-denial space elf, studying xenopsychology together. Much more touching than I make it sound. Ends with doom, but there are four more books in the series so presumably they will eventually arrive at some kind of work-life balance together.

Words: FAIL. Blargh. Maybe instead of failing to write fiction I should fail at implementing my idea for a magical girl dungeon crawling game. Or figure out what the actual stories are for Lovecraft Country so that I can implement it in PbtA. Or I could die in a pit. That one seems like the greatest contribution to world culture.

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12 January 2020 - Sunday

Slept in like four hours, which made me feel slightly well-rested, but also wasted most of the day because I am defective. Then I wasted the rest of the day doing nothing because I suck.


Watched:

  • RWBY 7.9: I'm not as personally offended as Marith is by some characters not getting enough to do, but she's right that a lot of people should be doing a lot of things, not just the few characters we've had since season 1.
  • The Good Place 1.10: Love confession episode! Including the one that was very surprising at the time!
  • Leverage 2.2: This was mostly an Eliot episode, and that's okay, but it still needed more Parker.

Read:

  • Ran and the Gray World vol 5 (Aki Irie): This volume focuses a lot more on the epic turmoil in the magical world than on Ran's messed-up personal life, but there's still some of that. Also, hot springs episode! (Not Ran, sheesh.)
  • Tomo-chan is a Girl vol 6 (Fumita Yanagida): The secondary couple have finally gotten together, but the primary couple are still floundering with awkwardness. We get an extended flashback to an earlier phase of their awkwardness, too, and also find out about that thing with Gundou-san.
  • Stars of Empire Player's Handbook (Terry N Sofian): Unfortunately, this book was almost entirely the very detailed and retro system with modifiers and charts for every situation, and hardly any description of the steampunk setting with humans throughout the solar system and giant bug monsters eating England and other cool stuff. I looked on DTRPG, and I'm not sure any of the books associated with this game has that, which I find confusing and also stupid.

Words: Still FAIL. I realized what decision the MC needs to make, although it still needs context around it. But maybe it's enough? I don't even know, man.

Reminder! by marithlizard (Mon Jan 13 03:05:06 2020)

Choosing to relax on a weekend day on which you have nothing scheduled and no children who require minding is not a failure of any sort, it is proper human self-care. Do we have to run you through the capitalist dystopia deprogrammer again?

Re: Reminder! by Trip (Thu Jan 16 22:15:39 2020)

But there are so many things that need doing for myself!

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11 January 2020 - Saturday

We needed the cleaners, but it's still weird having people in our apartment first thing in the morning.

Despite the huge amount of extra shopping requested by Ken, I got all the things, or at least reasonable substitutes, and there was tasty burrito dinner.


Nigh-weekly anime:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 188: Now everyone knows everyone's secret ID, but that doesn't help Aluminum Siren!
  • RWBY 6.5-6: Oh, that's what happened to the village. Also, one of Maria's secrets!
  • Chihayafuru 3.13: The queen challenger is settled! I can't blame Suo for hitting on Chihaya, they're both weirdos.
  • Shirobako 4-5: That guy has such Mediocre White Man energy, despite not being technically white (but dominant ethnicity of the area, close enough). I think all the women should just stab him. Or at least him lock in the cell when it's free.

Words: FAIL. I have no scapegoat this time. I have been thinking, though, and maybe I can overcome some of my worldbuilding conundrums by making my MC not average for catgirls. As a bonus, I can make her even more traumatized by her backstory! Also I can give her backstory more tragedy. But can I write that much doom?

Make a comment!

10 January 2020 - Friday

I feel like I did some work, but I have little show for it except finding an obscure bug that will probably never be relevant except to this one customer issue. Also I had to stay late to cover for Boss A, but she will be back from India next week.


Watched:

    The Good Place 4.10: I think the technical term for this is "maltheism". But on the other hand, no universe that includes Disco Janet can be all bad. And somehow, not the finale?

Words: FAIL. Capitalism again.

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9 January 2020 - Thursday

I did not accomplish much at work, but at least I stayed late to communicate my failures to the next shift?


Watched:

Read:

  • The Mongolian Wizard (Michael Swanwick): Short piece, alternate history with magic but with no less of the Great Game. Possibly leading into a WWI/II analog that's not Germany/Hitler-based? Apparently there are a bunch more short stories following this one.
  • Monsters of Mars (Edmond Hamilton): Ancient (okay, 1931) novella about heroic Earthmen getting duped into teleporting to Mars. After almost a century of SF, it seems horribly clichéd, but I'm sure it was innovative at the time.
  • Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence (Michael Marshall Smith): Although the protagonist is an eleven-year-old girl, I wouldn't call this a kid's book. There is too much death (not all deserved), cussing, existential angst, thoughts about what it means to become an adult, and sympathy for the devil. On the other hand, no sex and hardly any romance. I dunno, man.

Words: FAIL. I definitely blame capitalism this time.

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8 January 2020 - Wednesday

First Wednesday night 13G and Chinese food of 2020! This session, the people who were not enjoying the grossly transphobic hospitality of the Lunar garrison executed their plan to rescue those who were. At least nobody got killed?

A bunch of Mike's friends decided that he needed way too many glorantha dice, so he regifted most of them to us. The strike rank and hit location dice are not useful, but we enjoyed rolling the rune dice and getting runic associations to go with our random numbers. For the system, it is handy that the runes are in alphabetical order, but it would be thematically better if Air weren't a natural 1. If custom cards were easier, I might try to make a deck of cards with more and better combinations. All 20 runes &mult; 20 numbers might be a bit much, but we could probably come up with something.


Read:

  • Monster Roster vol 1: Desert Denizens (Samantha Gundaker): Dungeon World monsters inspired by mythologies of peoples from desert regions. They will still eat your face.
  • You Can Be A Cyborg When You're Older (Richard Roberts): Not related to Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain, but pretty similar in a lot of ways despite being nominally kind of cyberpunk. The over-the-top body modification is not unlike superpowers, and there are many strange people for our teen protagonist to make friends with. The thing with the AIs is legitemately augh. There's a bit from Soon I Will Be Invincible about how many superpowers are more like chronic medical conditions with exploitable side effects, which I liked but was vague on until I read this book.
  • Snow Day (Andrea K Höst): Another postscript to the Touchstone series but I no longer remember enough of the characters to be heartwarmed.

Words: FAIL. Normally I would blame Jus, but this time I blame capitalism.

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7 January 2020 - Tuesday

I was productive at work again, at least for a few hours. I had four meetings and only two of them were with customers! Also I learned some stuff.


Watched:

  • Leverage 2.1: That was even sillier than the first season. Although as Marith pointed out, nothing is as ridiculous as what happened with the bank bailout, and that's not even fiction.

Read:

  • Wyrde and Wayward (Charlotte E English): Regency(?) England, some families have a tendency toward manifesting bizarre magical traits (being vampires, raising the dead, turning into dragons, etc), MC is from a family known for this but doesn't have powers, comedy of manners ensues.
  • Monsterarium (Ahimsa Kerp, Nahid Taheri): Whimsical (but creepy) OSR monsters.
  • Monster Roster vol 2: Arctic Anomalies (Samantha Gundaker): Dungeon World monsters inspired by legends from cultures that live in cold places. I cannot comment on the cultural appropriativeness, but they will totally eat your face.

Words: Addditional FAIL.

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6 January 2020 - Monday

I did a fair number of things at work, some of them even not wrong, but I also ate a bunch of extraneous carbs, and it's only Monday. Actual Monday, not secretly Thursday or Friday at the same time.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 1.10: Well, that's a lot of doom. I don't think it's really binding under the rules of the US Patent Office, though, especially given the timeline.

Read:

  • Gleipnir vol 5 (Sun Takeda): Wow, our female lead is extremely murdery. And I don't think she's a good influence on the male lead either.
  • Sub-ether Zero, zero vol 1.1 (Gwendolyn Harper): DCC-based far-future science fantasy, grotty megacities on a ruined planet that also has the current hot entertainment hub, so kind of a mix between 40s LA noir and Judge Dredd. More specifics than I would want, but it's for DCC players. Lots of random tables for things/people/plot hooks to meet on the street. Apparently a part or preview of a more complete setting to come, which might have interesting aliens.

Words: FAIL. I just do not seem to ever have enough brain in the evening to do more than a tiny bit, and sometimes not even that. Not that I can do anything with plot or characterization or theme, and only barely with worldbuilding or description. I'd say I should stick to bad game design instead of bad fiction, so I can push the plot and characterization onto someone else, but that's even more pointless.

Make a comment!

5 January 2020 - Sunday

Oh, right, that's why I don't like shopping on Sunday: the store is full of people and everything is out of stock. Maybe it would be better if I was able to not sleep in and went shopping right at opening time? Seems unlikely that I'll ever know.

The customers were much quieter today, which is good, because apparently I made enough mistakes yesterday.


Watched:

    Orphan Black 1.8-9: Felix is still the best. Alison is growing on me, although she is still a complete disaster. Oh, and there was some plot stuff.

Words: FAIL. But I'm pretty sure I need to do more outlining or at least I need a better idea of the climax, when my MC makes a choice and then has to fight for it. Also I really need to answer the existing questions about how unusual my MC is and whether her power is too good for getting out of trouble and not good enough for getting into trouble. So yah, I suck.

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4 January 2020 - Saturday

Because I am dumb, I ended up with all of today and half of tomorrow on call (but hardly any Sundays for the rest of the quarter, so I can game if I don't give up in despair) and the customers are being annoying.


Nigh-weekly anime:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 187:
  • RWBY 6.3-4: So much exposition! And then [SPOILER] finds out about the end of last season.
  • Chihayafuru 3.11-12: It doesn't seem like making someone do karuta in someone else's style would actually be very good training at all. But never mind that, it's time to determine who will face the current Queen and Master!

Read:

  • Futaribeya vol 1 (Yukiko): Slice of life, mostly 4-koma. A responsible and traditionally feminine girl goes to boarding school and has to room with a beautiful but not-very-feminine girl. They get along great, and by the end of the first volume are just beginning to think that their friendship makes looking for romance unnecessary. Not very much cheesecake at all.

Words: FAIL. I blame customers.

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3 January 2020 - Friday

Yay, it's Friday! I did some work, I guess.


Watched:

  • Elementary 3.7: The one that smells like pumpkin pie. Also a surprisingly positive view of non-monogamy for a female character on mainstream TV.

Read:

  • The Tiger and the Wolf (Adrian Tchaikovsky): It's the beginning of the Iron Age, everyone is a shapeshifter, almost everyone is horrible, the end of the world may be coming soon, a ragtag band of outcasts and fish out of water are probably going to have to be the ones to fix everything. Good shapeshifting tricks, nice descriptions of divine apparitions that are probably not literal.
  • Dark Alleys & Twisted Paths (Martin Killmann): The author thought the core 13th Age book didn't have enough spells/powers/talents/spells, so he made a whole bunch of new ones. Also rewrites of the sorcerer and wizard classes to be more like previous D&Ds. If I liked 13A more, this would probably be a great resource.

Words: CHECK. Maybe I'm to the point where I should start writing? Or maybe I need to firm up the outline more? Hard to say. Outlining, how does it even?

Make a comment!

2 January 2020 - Thursday

Ew, back to work. And now people are in the office, but at least it's Thursday to go with the Monday? No, wait, I have to stay late on Thursday. Bah!

At least we get lunch service again.


Read:

  • Pawn (Timothy Zahn): Petty criminal and alcoholic is abducted by mysterious aliens to repair a mysterious spaceship full of mysterious goings-on. Like most of Zahn's work, oddly lacking in feels.

Words: CHECK, by an even smaller margin.

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1 January 2020 - Wednesday

Today I did some chores around the house, so that was a responsible start to the new year, even if not an ambitious one.


Read:

  • Still Sick vol 1 (Akashi): Yuri doujinshi artist who disclaims all interest in 3D girls meets a coworker who is interested in her work, or maybe her, and has a dark secret.
  • My Father Is A Unicorn vol 1 (Monaka Suzuki): Just what it says on the tin. The unicorn is never explained. He changes shape a lot and causes great consternation in the apartment building.

Words: CHECK. By the loosest possible interpretation, but not zero!

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31 December 2019 - Tuesday

I did a little shopping and only got moderately confused by the new bus route. That's enough for a holiday, right?

Earl and Cat bailed on us, so it was just the four of us grownups and Jus, and we had Korean delivery instead of fondue. But we played hearts and Small World and Jus did not melt down from tiredness and even came in second in Small World! I wouldn't call it a party, but it was definitely better than sitting home alone!


Well, that's it for 2019. Maybe in 2020, Nazis will get what's coming to them.


Words: FAIL. But next year for sure?

Make a comment!

30 December 2019 - Monday

I could do with more one- or two-day workweeks in the new year!


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 1.7: Helena is so creepy. Olivier is so gross. Sarah is so doomed. Art is about to hit the fan.

Read:

  • Before The Broken Star (Emily R King): A girl with a clockwork heart, vengeance, fairy tales, death at sea, all the classics.
  • Dark Pacts & Ancient Secrets (Martin Killmann): Third-party classes for 13th Age: monster, psionic, swordmage, warlock, fateweaver, savage (because barbarians aren't barbaric enough?), all pretty much what they say on the tin, and probably kind of OP. Also some feats and talents for existing classes, and some more magic items. I want to like 13th Age, but it just has too many things to keep track of for not enough benefit from each one, and also it's D&D.

Words: FAIL.

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29 December 2019 - Sunday

The bus routes all changed yesterday, because reasons. The one that goes roughly north-south past my apartment, down to Ayse and Ken's, is pretty much the same, but the one that goes perpendicularly, which I ride in one direction to get to the train in the morning, and in the other direction to get to grocery and books on weekends, has been abolished. Fortunately, a nearby bus has been extended to cover the part of the route that I care about, and it runs both later every evening and more frequently on weekends, so I win.

Shopping is about the only thing I have managed to do today, though.


The kitten I was thinking of adopting, who had languished unclaimed for months, has now been adopted. This is sad, but I am sure she is very beloved in her new home.


Watched:

  • Leverage 1.12-13: Nate's ex-wife is too good for him. Also, Parker's back muscles.

Read:

  • The Way of the Househusband vol 1 (Kousuke Oono): The most feared yakuza of the city now turns his warrior spirit to... shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

Words: FAIL.

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28 December 2019 - Saturday

Ugh, on call. Hopefully the customers will remain quiet.


For additional holiday celebration, I went with Ayse and Ken and Jus and Nonny to infinite sushi and adorable kittens. I got on-called during lunch, but was able to tell the customer to go away and finish doing what we said the first time.

The kittens are very adorable. Orange Boy Kitten Jingle was very snuggly, but also rambunctious and made me miss Marmalade. Dark Girl Kitten Cammie allowed pettins on her own terms. But the most splendid cat was Apple, who Ayse and Jus are trying very hard to get me to adopt. She likes lounging atop her cat tree and being tallest and coolest, so she might even get along with Aspen.

I would have met more kitties, but we could only stay an hour before Ken's allergies started getting to him.


The customers did not return before I was able to hand things over to the next shift. Insert dancing llama icon here.


Watched:

  • RWBY 7.8: Huh, I thought Weiss's mom was dead for some reason. But apparently she just avoids parties and drinks heavily, which seems like a valid response to her life.
  • Elementary 3.6: Sherlock can still almost be a decent person if Watson nags him enough. Also that was a satisfyingly convoluted reason for skullduggery.

Read:

  • Eromanga-Sensei vol 1 (Tsukasa Fushimi, rin, Kanzakihiro): Orphaned high-school light novellist discovers that his hikikomori little stepsister is actually the illustrator for his novels. Incestuous innuendo ensues, although the male lead doesn't seem to actually be a sleaze.
  • Fruits Basket Another vol 3 (Natsuki Takaya): Yep, Sawa's mother really sucks. But now she has friends, so perhaps things will be okay. I still didn't like it nearly as much as the original, although it is good in its own way.

Words: FAIL.

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27 December 2019 - Friday

Hardly any customers today, except the one who kept sending me the log messages about his typos, asking me to debug them. That was good, because I was very stupid today.

I actually walked two blocks to get lunch today (the pita chips were almost gone), but ended up going to In-N-Out Burger because I find Chipotle so unappealing.


Watched:

    Orphan Black 1.6: Well, that's a huge mess in every direction. But I can see choosing death over that neighborhood potluck.


Words: FAIL.

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26 December 2019 - Thursday

It's like Monday and Thursday at the same time, plus I'm the only one of my team in the office so I seem to be ending up with all the cases. Which is not itself bad, I guess, but it's so Monday.

Also there's still no lunch delivery, so I ate most of a bag of pita chips instead of anything healthy.


Read:

  • Silver Spoon vol 12 (Hiromu Arakawa): Hey, that is a plan! With coconspirators and everything! Also, Cheese Girl goes to France.
  • Thirsty Sword Lesbians Beta 0.4 (April Kit Walsh): This game is 1000% about feelings and roughly 0% about whether a scimitar or a longsword does more damage. I mean, there is a move for fencing with someone to hurt them, but there are way more moves for seducing them or trying to find out their tragic backstory or supporting them emotionally. The playbooks are all centered around an inner emotional conflict (grand destiny vs living your own life, traditional values vs living your own life, having monster friends vs having human friends, etc). You can even declare yourself smitten with someone and it has mechanical effects! This is a very early version, but apparently it's been picked up by Evil Hat so it will get proper editing and playtesting and such. Sadly, I am completely unqualified to play this game, not just for the obvious reason, but because the only feelings I know anything about are anxiety, disappointment, and existential despair.

Words: FAIL.

Thirsty Sword Lesbians by marithlizard (Sun Dec 29 03:01:50 2019)

Nonsense. At the very least you have extensive experience with the feelings of being affectionately worn out by small children, loved/tolerated by your cat, annoyed by your flatmate and oppressed by poking.

Re: Thirsty Sword Lesbians by Trip (Sun Dec 29 18:19:04 2019)

Those are experiences, not Feelings™!

Make a comment!

25 December 2019 - Wednesday

This time I only slept in until 10. Surely this will not cause any problems tomorrow when I have to go back to work again, right?

Marith also stopped sleeping at an apppropriate hour and roasted up a bunch of squash and then we took a box of celebratory items over to Ayse and Ken's for Xmas dinner! Dave was not there, because he was off being a Dave, but Earl and Cat were there, and we feasted upon the capon and many other tasty things and were as festive as children allowed.

Watched:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 186: No, they still aren't investigating Chibichibi! Also it pains me that the all the complaints about breaking the antiques are because of their monetary value and not because of their beauty, but teenagers.
  • Guardian 1: Perhaps this is the new series we will lure Cat and Earl down to watch. Chinese urban fantasy, with magic cops and snake ladies and Chinese Harry Potter (you were thinking it too!).

Read:

  • Silver Spoon vol 11 (Hiromu Arakawa): Does Hachiken have a plan? He might!

Words: FAIL.

Guardian by marithlizard (Sun Dec 29 02:59:15 2019)

I was not thinking it...until you said that...

Re: Guardian by Trip (Sun Dec 29 18:20:49 2019)

Really? Have you never seen any of the movies?

Re: Guardian by marithlizard (Mon Dec 30 14:52:50 2019)

It'd be impossible to have not seen any screenshots, at least. :) I guess I think of Harry in the Ingenue Main Character Kid category (emphasis on "kid"), and Shen Wei immediately put himself in the Cute Unworldly Academic Who Probably Knows Way More Than He's Letting On category (emphasis on "cute") by refusing to join the suspicious-sounding research team.

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24 December 2019 - Tuesday

I didn't sleep in until noon! ...quite. I went to lunch at the new Thai place because the burger place with five kinds of Diet Dr Pepper is closed, but the pad thai was pretty bland. I think I may be too snooty to eat there.

Also I noodled around on the Internet until my brain came out, but in between I wrapped some presents. I think of wrapping presents as a huge chore that I'm terrible at, but it's really not that bad.


Watched:

  • Treasure Planet: I remembered this being cooler than it actually is, but it's still pretty cool. I mean, who doesn't want to sail the skies and fight pirates? But Dread Pirate Flint was completely lacking in vision. It makes me want to play Lady Blackbird or maybe Thirsty Sword Lesbians, because of course it would have been a better movie if all the parts played by identifiably-gendered creatures were women.

Read:

  • O Maidens In Your Savage Season vol 5 (Mari Okada, Nao Emoto): Confessions are busting out all over!
  • Shadows & Dreams (Alexis J Hall): Further adventures of a lady PI who keeps getting entangled with hot supernatural women in the magical underground of London.

Words: FAIL.

Make a comment!

23 December 2019 - Monday

I was not very useful at work, because I am dim. I should have been 60% more useful, because I only have to work three days, but no.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 1.5: Ugh, Vic. But he's probably not involved in the conspiracy yet. ...or is he?

Read:

  • Unnatural Magic (CM Waggoner): Trolls! Genders! Civil unrest! Prejudice! Magic! Romance! Setting forth to make one's fortune! Debauchery! Fabulous outfits! Murder! Some people say this book reminds them of The Goblin Emperor, and I see why, although it's not actually very similar.
  • The Midderlands (Glynn Seal, Edwin Nagy, Mark Nolan): OSR setting, industry and quaint local murders and ancient stones and noble intrigues like Renaissance England only with monsters and green murk and slightly less impenetrable accents.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen vol 1 (Gege Akutami): The monster designs are satisfactorily creepy, but otherwise it's completely formulaic shounen.

Words: FAIL.

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22 December 2019 - Sunday

Atlantic City Rollers fell through because Rachel is full of germs, so instead I went over to Ken's place and we played Gloomhaven. We almost cleaned out the cistern of ever-spawning monsters, but they drew their multiattack at the wrong time and we wiped instead. Still, we got enough money that I was able to buy four enhancements and retire my murder rat. We have unlocked the Summoner, who is apparently terrible, so maybe I'll play that next. Or the paladin of solar flame and death, but that risks being actually useful.

Then we played Uno and Thomas won, fair and square!


Watched:

  • RWBY 7.7: I think we knew how this was going to go even before Blake and Yang went rogue.
  • The Good Place 1.7: First appearance of the Bad Place staff. They do pretty much suck.

Words: FAIL.

Make a comment!

21 December 2019 - Saturday

This time I did not forget all the things!

Nigh-weekly anime:

  • Sailor Moon Stars 185: Ah, Anime-itis! So expensive to cure! So decorous! So tragic!
  • RWBY 6.1-2: I still don't understand why the God of Light made [SPOILER] so blue. And so naked. (Is that the same blue as [SPOILER]'s eyes?)
  • Chihayafuru 3.9-10: The qualifiers for the Master and Queen matches are done!

Words: FAIL.

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20 December 2019 - Friday

Apparently the call from yesterday is still going on. I did some data munging to help out, but we will never be free.


Watched:

  • Leverage 1.10: The one where Parker is not the worst jury foreman ever.

Read:

  • The Ideal Sponger Life vol 1 (Tsunehiko Watanabe, Neko Hinotsuki, Jyuu Ayakura): A young salaryman is summoned into another world to marry a hot magical queen, but his first thought (okay, after "hubba hubba") is, "Why is this actual queen trying to marry some nobody from another dimension? What is she up to?" And she actually is up to something! Also he has a month to plan what to bring from C21 Japan, so it is one of those stories.

Words: FAIL.

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19 December 2019 - Thursday

The office manager apparently didn't trust me to bring the rolls I signed up for, but I didn't take it personally because he apparently didn't trust anyone to have brought edible food. But they did! And we ate it! And it was good!

Then at the end of the day I was stuck on a call for hours with a customer who will probably never be happy, until I could foist them off on the India team and escape.


Words: FAIL.

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18 December 2019 - Wednesday

This week's 13G was less great, because almost the entire session was less than half of the party doing excruciatingly detailed scouting and planning and sneaking around. The tacos were good, though.


Read:

  • Twelve Scorching Days (Melanie Greene): Musician romance, pretty steamy, not too long. Not that I am a romance reader, but it is by a slack frond.
  • Fate of Cthulhu (Stephen Blackmoore): Terminator×Cthulhu: the Great Old One has risen and humanity is destroyed, but a few survivors have managed to send agents back in time to disrupt the key events that led to the rising. SAN loss is replaced with Corruption, which changes your aspects into horrible mutations that the GM will compel against you, and when you run out of aspects to corrupt, you become an NPC monster. It's FATE, so meh, but it does have guidance on tracking whether your actions have made humanity's extinction more or less painful, so that's good.

Words: FAIL.

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17 December 2019 - Tuesday

Curse the people who bring holiday goodies in to work! It is definitely their fault and not mine that I eat too much!

Rolls for potluck obtained!

Also obtained: case for my new iPad, so I can carry it around along with an Apple Pencil.


Watched:

  • Leverage 1.10: The one where Nate is really an alcoholic.

Words: FAIL.

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16 December 2019 - Monday

Oh, huh, there's a work potluck this Thursday. I totally knew that. No problem.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 1.4: Now we know more of [SPOILER]'s story, and it's about as horrible as you might guess. But the cliff-hanger endings continue!

Read:

  • Teratoscope (O Hybridity): On reread it's maybe a bit too meta and conceptual for the monsters to be easy to use, but they're still way more inventive than the yet-another-evil-humanoid of most monster books.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise vol 2 (Spica Aoki): Further adventures of a girl who monsters out when she gets doki-doki. Definite bonus points for her being a metalhead.

Words: FAIL.

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15 December 2019 - Sunday

No gaming, because gingerbread party! I ate too much party food, and did not talk to enough people, but Dave was a big hit with small children.


Watched:

  • RWBY 7.6: Just in case we didn't hate [SPOILER] enough, I guess. Also we would be cheering [SPOILER] in Leverage, but not here. I guess they aren't very good at democracy.

Read:

  • Komi Can't Communicate vol 4 (Tomohito Oda): Another person who thinks Komi is the greatest ever. (Because she kind of is.)

Words: FAIL.

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14 December 2019 - Saturday

The cleaners deny all knowledge of the mysterious hoodie. I guess I should leave it in the laundry room?


This time I did not forget everything for dinner!

Nigh-weekly anime:

  • Steven Universe: The Movie: Finally we finished watching it! It was okay. It was really not as good as the original series, which makes me worry about the new series.
  • RWBY 5.14: End of season 5, temporary victory, hugs all around!
  • Chihayafuru 3.6-8: Chihaya vs Mashima! Only one can win! But then the school trip and what is Mashima doing?!

    Words: FAIL.

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13 December 2019 - Friday

Late at work again, because someone has to cover this week while Boss A is travelling. Quiet day, though.


Read:

  • Starsight (Brandon Sanderson): Sequel to Skyward, our heroine finally gets out into the wider galaxy and we find out why nobody likes humans. Fortunately she has a plan. Good points: the aliens being alien, Spensa being terrible at being a spy, the galactic federation believing its own propaganda about how morally superior it is while actually being terrible, the extra-dimensional horrors being terrifying, pocket foxes! Less good: Spensa noticing the alien girl is super-beautiful but not following up on it (actually all the romance seemed pretty perfunctory), no one else in the entire history of [SPOILER] having thought to do the thing.

Words: FAIL.

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12 December 2019 - Thursday

Not only am I sleepy because eating too much/not right got me up in the middle of the night, but my tooth hurts because bodies why are they even? and now I have to stay late at work because Thursday. Hmph!


Read:

  • One Man (Harry Connolly) is not Twenty Palaces, but it is fantasy noir. Down these mean streets catwalks built from the fungus that grows on the bones of dead gods must go a man who is not himself mean, and throw the entire government and criminal underworld into chaos because he has decided he will not let this one little girl down and they don't understand they shouldn't mess with the only man to return from [SPOILER] island.

Words: FAIL.

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11 December 2019 - Wednesday

It was not my turn to get food, so we had enough. (Possibly too much, or possibly I was just unwise to order something I'd never had that was listed as "medium-spicy". Eating most of a tin of chocolate chip cookies was also a mistake.)

As anyone who is smarter than my character could have predicted, the apparently-friendly elf sold us out to the Lunars, framing us for murder after pretending to trade us an iron greave for a robin's egg and mystical Trickster secrets. Now most of us have been arrested by flying Lunar bird-weirdos, except the monk and the bandit, who are lurking in the woods. I suppose we could have tried to fight them, but D&D.


Read:

  • Genial Jack vol 1 (Jonathan Newell): A city built in the belly and on the back of an enormous, possibly-divine whale! The PC race writeups are in D&D5, so they're lame, but that's pretty much the only mechanics, and you can be a business octopus. The fantastical lands the whale travels near are only alluded to, but hopefully that's what volumes 2+ are for.

Words: FAIL.

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10 December 2019 - Tuesday

Bah, work. Boss A is going abroad for a few weeks, so the rest of us need to cover the days she was on call, which is not actually tragic, it just makes me go bah.

I thought a customer might be exploding, but no, he's good. I guess we'll wait and found out what the experts think.


Watched:

  • Orphan Black 1.3: Some of the other characters are growing on me, but Felix is still best. Also Cosima is probably going to horribly betray everyone.

    Read:

    • Monstrosities (Matthew J Finch, et al): OSR monster manual, with all the giant monsters, color-coded dragons, and random nonsense that has become canon (otyugh, gnoll, rust monster, owlbear), and not enough novel monsters. The IOUNizer is good, though.
    • The Excellents (Adriel Wilson, Chris O'Neill): Princesses! Specific princesses, like the princess of maple syrup, or the princess of lasers, in a cartoon world of awesome that they have to protect. Uses a hack of the one-die-per-player system from Mazes, with special princess stuff on the max or min roll, so it's pretty success-heavy, which is good for younger players. I think I like Princess World better, but this is still worthy.
    • Phantasmagoria vol 1-2 (Chance Phillips): Adapts DCC with all its d14s and individual spell tables to space-going fantasy adventure. So basically the same as Starfinder in 1/10th the page count.

    Words: FAIL.

  • Make a comment!

    9 December 2019 - Monday

    I did some works today, but do not feel very productive.


    Watched:

    • Orphan Black 1.2: I think she actually handled that very competently, but Felix still deserves a better sister.

    Read:

    • Mononoke Sharing vol 1 (coolkyousinnjya): Human teen ends up housemates with five goofy and top-heavy monster girls, who she bonds with even though they are sometimes pretty annoying and/or gross.

    Words: FAIL.

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    8 December 2019 - Sunday

    I spent all day making three separate shopping trips, and spent about a zillion dollars, but none of it seems like it made the world a better place. I might change my mind when it starts getting cold and I'm glad I bought a heater, though.


    Watched:

    • RWBY 7.5: Okay, Robin is cool. But I don't know about any of these others. Except Schnee, we definitely know about him.
    • The Good Place 1.6: Wow, Eleanor was a real piece of work.

    Read:

    • The Wize Wize Beasts of the Wizarding Wizdoms (Nagabe): Short story manga collection of boy's love × Harry Potter × uplifted animals. Same art style as The Girl From The Other Side, but 1000% less doom.

    Words: FAIL.

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    7 December 2019 - Saturday

    I finally stopped being lame and tried out the new Thai place down the street. It is tiny, and has a tiny menu, but the food was fine. I will try to support them, even though they don't have an omnidrink machine or 80s music.


    Not only did I forget my bag with important things like meds when I went over to anime, I also forgot the garbanzo beans, so we had no hummus! It was tragic!


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • RWBY 5.12-13: Vernal's secret revealed! Climatic battle with Cinder! Adam's plan thwarted! But still one episode left.
    • Chihayafuru 3.5: Of course that's who Chihaya has to face in the final round of the tournament! But it looks like Queen Mum might be a recurring character, so that's good.
    • My Hero Academia 68: I know Deku has the main plot and the scariest villains and everything, but I want to see more of Uravity and Froppy, and even Red Riot.

    Words: FAIL.

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    6 December 2019 - Friday

    Everyone was in meetings or dead or something, so when three tickets arrived in one hour, I handled all of them. None of them were obscure or urgent or anything, but I felt like I was not letting the side down.


    Watched:

    • Orphan Black 1.1: Well, that's a lot of doom. And death. And fake death. And distracting sex. And more doom. And bad decisions. And cute gay guys.

    Words: FAIL.

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    5 December 2019 - Thursday

    I did some work, I took some selfies until one was slightly less horrible than the others and set that as my profile picture for JIRA and whatnot (thus removing the oldest item from my todo list), and stayed at work until forever o'clock.

    When I got home, I found the accessory for my new iPad had been delivered, although the iPad itself is still in transit. This is acceptable.


    Words: FAIL.

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    4 December 2019 - Wednesday

    Today, there were cars on two completely separate railways, which engendered great confusion. (When we send the billionaires to the guillotine, let's use part of their hoarded wealth to get rid of at-grade crossings.) Brooks kindly gave me a lift part of the way, but there was confusion, so we were kind of late, and also I had failed at ordering an adequate amount of Thai food, so in many ways the evening was less than ideal. However, I had more fun playing 13G than usual, perhaps because there were no fight scenes. Our Heroines (and their trickster) were secretly given food by a high-level and chill Lunar, and more importantly, directions on how to escape the Mad Sultanate, which worked! Back in the normal world, they continued trying to get home (fortunately everyone's home is in the same direction from this far away), and met an elf who seemed friendly and said she wanted to trade but probably wants to eat them or pollinate them or something.


    Read:

    • Electric Bastionland Free Preview: Kind of like Troika! in that the world is mostly defined by the table of bizarre character backgrounds, but a little more focused in that all the backgrounds are failed careers and you are now collectively 10,000 moneys in debt so you have become treasure hunters.

    Words: FAIL.

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    3 December 2019 - Tuesday

    Watched:

    • Leverage 1.9: The one where Parker is the worst damsel in distress ever, but not the worst cancer patient ever. How did Sophie manage to not sleep with those guys, though?

    Read:

    • The Ultraviolet Grasslands and the Black City (Luka Rejec): Science-fantasy adventure in a world of unfamothably deep time, or at least the slice of it running from the western edge of the Rainbow Lands around the Circle Sea to the mysterious Black City in the far west. It is not unlike Numenera in some ways, it even describes active threats with a single number. However, it is better than Numenera because it adds an adjective, which might be roleplaying (L2, curious), mechanical (L1, paralytic), atmospheric (L4, howling), or just weird (L8, time-spliced). Also UVG is better because in Numenera, everything you meet or find or see is completely unique and bizarre, but in the UVG, there are classes of things. The vomes here might be different from the vomes at the last place you stopped, but they're all creepy, bug-ridden biomechanical monsters; the stuckforce here might be pinning an ancient structure to the sky while the stuckforce there is being used as load-bearing planets by the locals, but it's all still the detritus of ages of Tenser's floating disk and wall of force. It even comes with a system, sort of a stripped-down D&D where you can use inventory slots to store spells if you make a good case for it.

    Words: FAIL.

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    2 December 2019 - Monday

    Reorg at work, but I think it is minor enough to not portend any great doom.


    Watched:

    • Leverage 1.8: The one where Parker is the worst flight attendant ever.

    Read:

    • Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro vol 1 (Nanashi): Like "he's only sticking your pigtails in the ink because he liiiiiiiikes you", only gender-reversed so it's more psychological torment. The female lead is extremely gleeful about it, but meh.

    Words: FAIL.

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    1 December 2019 - Sunday

    Omens were unclear, but it turns out Dave was up for running SCRPG today despite spending days and days in Granite Bay with Thanksgiving food.

    Now that Mav is gone, the first order of business is to secure her extradimensional house so that it doesn't eat any squatters. It may be too late, as the place has been tossed, but the Rollers decide that the best way to keep anyone else from coming to grief in the house is to occupy it themselves. Surely this cannot go wrong! After a couple of weeks, they even stop getting lost (as long as they stay out of the attic) and start to make friends with the tiny people who live in the walls and sneak food from the kitchn (the same ones that worked in Mav's impossible weapons).

    After the disruption of Mav, the local mob bosses want to restore their power, so they try recruiting the Mechanic back to their side. A direct appeal doesn't get anywhere, so they try leaning on his friends the vintage cars, first roughing one up and then kidnapping several outright. Naturally the Rollers have to rescue them, despite the goons with cutting arcs holding the poor cars hostage! Since cars aren't that fussed about physical modifications, this doesn't work as well as the mobsters hope, even when they overload the arcs into plasma guns and set the garage on fire. Victory: the Rollers.

    The goons involved in that fight don't have much morale, but mob lawyers are getting the ones who were put away on Mav's escapades off on some kind of mind controll/duress technicality, and they want to recoup their losses, so they try holding up a casino. (Casinos get held up a lot in this town.) Despite having the last of the stock of Mav's weapons, and two transforming mecha suits diguised as vintage cars, this doesn't go well for them as Moth bursts in through the skylight to draw their fire, Nighthawk and Anonymouse pick them off from the shadows, and Feathers and the Mechanic charge with guns zapping and engines revving. The Rollers are victorious again!

    No gaming next fornight, gingerbread instead.


    Watched:

    • Leverage 1.7: The one with the mob wedding.

    Words: FAIL.

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    30 November 2019 - Saturday

    Dave and Marith and I escaped while the kids were at the park, which hopefully meant there was at least 36% less confusion when the other car left. But we were sad to leave our friends and return to the everyday world.

    There was some rain on the way back, and some traffic, but so much of either that we couldn't make it home in good time.

    As soon as I was not trapped in a box with humans, like as soon as I went out to catch the bus to get to the grocery store, I started coming up with ideas for continuing yesterday's DW game, and what is really going on.


    Watched:

    • RWBY 7.4: We can has plot? Maybe next time? But those guys are definitely related.
    • The Good Place 1.4-5: Jason is such a Jason.

    Read:

    • Nicola Traveling Around The Demons' World vol 1 (Asaya Miyanaga): Small girl with extremely limited and cute magical abilities wanders around with a demonic peddler, meeting demons who are not all that mean or scary.

    Words: FAIL.

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    29 November 2019 - Friday

    Man, sleeping is hard. But I eventually got up and ate a million pounds of leftovers and wandered around aimlessly. Ayse and Ken and assorted smols went to see Frozen II, but Marith and I did not go because it would have been logistically complicated. Instead Al and I went to the gaming store and I found a Christmas present for Ken. (I'm not sure what Marith did.)


    Played:

    • Gloomhaven: Apparently there's a whole different party for playing in Roseville! I tried the spellweaver, but I didn't do a very good job because I treated loss cards as a precious resource and didn't need to play my Special Card of Ultimate Power until like the second-last turn of the game. But we redefeated the necromancer and undead anyway, and this time managed to also get the treasure chest.
    • Codenames: Now Marith knows how to play Codenames, at least the cooperative version that is all we ever play! Also she is not worse at giving clues than me, because I got everyone murdered with "enlongated for 2".
    • Dungeon World: I declared that we were playing DW, and no one opposed me, the more fools them. I don't think it worked as well as at the con, because the energy of the group is not to take anything seriously. Also going to the moon is probably cooler than being shipwrecked. I did get them mixed up with pathetic ghouls and underground mazes and lost cities and smoke-ghost-monsters, at least. But later I heard Ken thought it was terrible, so I dunno.

    Words: VACATION.

    Dungeon World by marithlizard (Wed Dec 4 01:46:29 2019)

    I am quite sure it was not terrible, even if it wasn't to someone's personal taste!

    Re: Dungeon World by Trip (Sat Dec 7 15:25:03 2019)

    Enh, it wasn't great. I think Sherilyn may not have actually wanted to play. People are so difficult.

    Make a comment!

    28 November 2019 - Thursday

    I had nothing to contribute to the cooking except a little bit of keeping kids out of the way, but I was there to help eat all of the everything! And also to lie around in a bloated heap.

    Jus's friend carries chopsticks and a tape measure everywhere, to be prepared.


    Played:

      Roll for the Galaxy: I came in dead last, I think because I worried too much about getting the most use of my early exploration powers and didn't ignore them in favor of building all the things I scouted.
    • Azul: Another unexpected victory! To the extent it was anything other than luck, I blame concentrating on my own tableau instead of worrying about what other people needed.

    Words: VACATION.

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    27 November 2019 - Wednesday

    Despite the usual amount of inefficiency, Marith and I successfully got a ride with Dave to Roseville Granite Bay to see Al and Sherilyn and one of their kids (the one not trapped at college by inclement weather) and Jus's best friend in the Sacramento suburbs and everyone was happy. As is our custom, we had take-out Chinese food because no one wants to cook on the day before Thanksgiving.


    Played:

    • Terraforming Mars: Somehow, I won! I played with a starter corporation because usually I suck, but although that gave me extra cards at the beginning of the game, I don't think they were qualitatively better cards. Maybe I was just more ruthless about culling cards that weren't immediately useful, but however it worked, I managed to keep bumping up my terraform rating, and had enough money toward the end of the game to buy a couple of milestones.

    Words: VACATION.

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    26 November 2019 - Tuesday

    It's like Tuesday and Friday! Yay! I mean, I had all the Tuesday meetings, but the one where I have to talk was really short because there isn't any more to this week as far as I'm concerned.


    Watched:

    • The Dragon Prince 7-9: That was definitely a climactic battle in the fantasy tradition! I don't think it was as well-done as the season 4 finale of She-Ra, but that's a really high bar.

    Words: FAIL.

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    25 November 2019 - Monday

    It's Monday, but also Thursday! Kinda. I did some stuff at work. It was not abysmally stupid, but it was not amazing.


    Watched:

    • The Dragon Prince 5-6: Augh! Smooching! Augh! But at least they have a proper army, unlike She-Ra where a dozen people is a major battle.

    Words: FAIL.

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    24 November 2019 - Sunday

    First I slept in too much, then I went shopping, then I went shopping again. I went to Target with a list, I got everything that was on the list for Target, and I got nothing that wasn't on the list, so at least it was successful shopping.

    Marith is dead (because why are bodies?) so we ordered pizza, but when it arrived, it was the wrong pizza. (I mean, it matched the order we gave, but it was not what we hoped for.)


    Watched:

    • RWBY 7.3: I'm not sure we needed another team of super-powered fighters to take up screen time showing off when we could be having plot or Bumblebee smooches or something instead.
    • The Dragon Prince 3-4: Yep, all of that went about as well as could be expected.

    Read:

    • The Overworld and Beyond (Ash Law): Like most 13th Age supplements, some adventure, some sourcebook, some bestiary, but not as polished as official 13A stuff.

    Words: FAIL.

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    23 November 2019 - Saturday

    Nobody is sick or having a birthday or in Portland or invaded by humans, it is a routine Saturday! Except I forgot that I have to always give a deadline when trying to coordinate with other people.

    But then, turkey chili! And Ayse pointed out that staying up past the point where your body wants to go to sleep doesn't just mean you have to sleep in more, it means your sleep is worse because your body is full of adrenaline and cortisol for whatever emergency is making you not sleep (so, capitalism). Maybe this will lead to me being more sensible even if I have more stuff to do in the evenings.


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Steven Universe: The Movie: We only saw about 20 minutes of this before they had to put Jus away for the night, but it is not sparking joy. The songs aren't as good and the new threat seems both spurious and from a slightly different genre. It is nice to see everyone in the future being happy, though!
    • RWBY 5.10-11: End of the big fight at Blake's place, start of the big fight at Leo's place. I think Qrow should probably have mentioned something to the team. Also I agree with Dave that the fight choreographers should have remembered they are a team.
    • My Hero Academia 67: I'm not sure everyone in our group is up for a season based around child abuse. :(
    • Chihayafuru 3.4: It's hard to write summaries for this series, because almost every one is "The karuta match continues! Chihaya (or sometimes another character) gets a better understanding of the particular subtlety of karuta their opponent specializes in! They struggle with another aspect of Karuta! Other characters look on worriedly! Who will win?". In this episode, Chihaya is learning to identify the upcoming word by the very beginning of the syllable, which sounds like something Americans would train machine learning to do.

    Words: FAIL.

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    22 November 2019 - Friday

    It's Friday. We made it. Kinda.


    Watched:

    • The Good Place 4.9: So much Chidi! But is it enough?
    • The Dragon Prince 3.1-2: Ugh, being king kind of sucks, doesn't it? Also I'm not sure Rayla's going to get as much of a homecoming party as she thinks.

    Read:

      SCRPG chapter 4: This is the chapter on running adventures, but probably what we need is the chapter on creating adventures, which isn't expected to be in preview until next month.
    • Iron & Velvet (Alexis Hall): Previous work by the author of The Affair of the Mysterious Letter. Not as eldritch, but super-gay urban fantasy with vampires and werewolves and PIs. It does not stretch the boundaries of the genre (except in the lack of hetness) but it entertained me.

    Words: FAIL.

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    21 November 2019 - Thursday

    Ugh, I hate meetings in warm rooms. Maybe if I stab myself with a dull spoon for an hour straight?

    Once I recovered, I wrote a very simple shell script to extract meaning from large log files. Perhaps my coworkers will like it. Perhaps they will carefully pick it up with tongs and dispose of it in the compost heap.

    For a change, the train was not unusually late, but the announcements and signs could not agree which platform all trains were boarding on. It was stupid enough that I tried calling railroad support, but of course they are only available when office workers are at work, not when people are riding the train. Eventually someone figured it out, though.


    Read:

    • The Ancient Magus' Bride vol 11 (Kore Yamazaki): Chise hasn't even attended classes yet and already she is freaking people out and making new friends. Also, doom.
    • What My Mother Doesn't Know (Sonya Sones): A YA novel about a high-school girl and all the feelings she has for different boys, but in blank verse.

    Words: FAIL.

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    20 November 2019 - Wednesday

    No one is currently very sick, so we were able to play 13G and eat Chinese food as is our custom.

    In the Home Team mini-adventure that we play while waiting for a quorum of Away Team players to show up, one of Brogandi and Gosik's caravan guards started flirting with one of the Lunar lion soldiers, and no matter how sex-positive Orlanthi culture is, that was not okay with her brother. (Because brothers.) But Brogandi was also getting chatted up by one of the Lunar lion soldiers, who was offering him the glamor of a life as a Lunar assassin, so Gosik was going to have to deal with fraternization. Surely nothing could go wrong with that.

    Then people finally showed up, so we went back to the Away Team being harrassed in the night by the shambling Chaos-tainted inhabitants of the Mad Sultanate. This was not very dangerous, but almost entirely unlike getting a long rest. The next day, they continued pushing forward with only a few wild (and hopefully Chaos-free) onions as food, because they found starvation much less worrisome than Chaos monsters. Good call on their part, because the next thing they run across is the corpse of a Lunar in armor of strange design that did not protect him from being stabbed in the chest and exsanguinated, probably by either the thing that left the three-legged rhinoceros-like tracks, or something on the wagon that left the other tracks. (Also there was a wagon-sized snail with two heads, one or more radulae, and Chaos fire, but everyone noped right out of that encounter.)

    The wagon tracks were going in the direction thought to be "the only way out is through", which seemed slightly promising, but they ended up leading to a party of Lunars with two wagon-mounted ballistae and several maniples of explicitly expendable soldiers. Figures.


    Words: FAIL.

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    19 November 2019 - Tuesday

    Argh, bus, why do you fail me so? On the day when I have a meeting right after I would normally get in to work? Wait, I may have answered my own question.


    Watched:

    • Leverage 1.6: The one with all the kids. Also Parker feels.

    Read:

    • Randomize (Andy Weir): A short story about crime in the quantum-computing future.

    Words: FAIL.

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    18 November 2019 - Monday

    Whee, capitalism. I proactively volunteered to do a thing, which might make my boss like me better, but did not actually do many things today.


    Watched:

    • Leverage 1.5: The one with the bank, and the judge.

    Read:

    • The Once King (Rachel Aaron, Travis Bach): Conclusion to the "FFO" trilogy, in which the final boss is faced down and defeated in a way that is pretty much what you would expect from the previous two books. Also various personal plot arcs are resolved, mostly not with doom.

    Words: FAIL.

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    17 November 2019 - Sunday

    We are back on schedule for Atlantic City Rollers! (If I were competent, I would make a web page for the campaign, but I don't think I am.) The SCRPG system continues to be vaguely functional, at least when the GM plans a big set-piece battle.

    After mostly foiling Mav's plans last session and hoping things will blow over, the Rollers' receptionist Kevin is surprised to have a mobster fall out of the ceiling of their office. He knocked himself out by falling badly, so whatever information was supposed to be conveyed is lost, but soon someone starts trying to contact the team by phone. When they finally get through to Nighthawk and set up a meet, it turns out to be another mobster, who wants help in getting rid of Mav. She's getting more unstable as the team frustrates her capers, and her minions are afraid she's going to lose her temper and turn them all inside out or something.

    Other heroes across the country have had time to respond to the email Vila and Moth sent out, but they don't have a lot of helpful information. Things like Mav have been seen before, they engage in pop-culture-based antics, don't usually hurt people too much, and sometimes get dragged away mysteriously when they do start transforming people. Mav turned a random citizen into a car in the issue where she first appeared, but he seems happy as a car, so does that count? Who knows!

    Since it worked so well last time, Anonymouse tries to sneak into Mav's new warehouse lair by the docks (only the classics!), but before she can, the building changes shape several times and all the mobsters rush out, get into cars, and drive away. Anonymouse goes in looking for Mav, and is never heard from again.

    Meanwhile, the mobsters have taken the team's office hostage (but not Kevin, since Moth tailed them and warned him to get out). No one is in the building, and it's just an office, not a headquarters with anything important in it, so she leaves that situation to the police (completely ignoring the demands for the heroes to lay off Mav) and goes back to help look for Anonymouse. Feathers has made a drone, had it get lost, made another drone, and gotten signal back on the first one, to see Mav putting Anonymouse in an old-school death trap with ticking clock.

    Inside the warehouse, however, is not the bland space with drowning tube the drone showed them, but a grassy plain with giant crabs and peel-flinging monkeys and also Anonymouse who is not in a death trap at all. (It's the real Anonymouse, everyone is almost certain.)

    The enemies vanish like soap bubbles when struck, and the terrain that was ahead of the heroes is now behind them when they defeat enough enemies; looks like one of the mobsters introduced Mav to side-scroller video games! After a few zones, the Mechanic manages to analyze the structure of this artificial universe, freeze the water filling the current zone, and start shattering it in the correct pattern (despite the lack of help from his teammates who don't enjoy being frozen into ice full of sharks). He hooks onto the edge of the universe with a towline, everyone piles into Guiseppe, and away they go through the void.

    Of course they can't escape that easily, and soon they find a lava field, with stony platforms, chains hanging from the indefinite firmament, and a huge ziggurat with a stylized 8-bit version of Mav monologuing atop it. One way or another, everyone manages to get across the lava to the ziggurat, where the lava crabs are waiting. Even that isn't too bad, except that when the heroes try to fill Mav full of rays, it turns out she's protected by an impenetrable(?) forcefield. Good thing her sins are already in there with her, so that when Moth makes them manifest as demonsquites, they're in there too! More importantly, the door in the backdrop behind Mav also exists on the other side of that wall, and leads back to the warehouse in the real world! Feathers leads everyone not grappled by the lava crabs through, but then Mav drags everyone back into her video game realm where the scene tracker is on the last round of red!

    Either dragging them back was out of line, or Mav's earlier car-transforming ways have finally caught up with her, because a huge person comes out of the door on her side of the backdrop and drags her kicking and screaming out of reality.

    Well. That was certainly a thing that happened.


    Watched:

    • RWBY 7.2: Ironwood is acting reasonable, although apparently there is massive discourse about how terrible his plan must be.
    • The Good Place 1.3: And this is where the Eleanor/Tahani shipping really took off.

    Words: FAIL.

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    16 November 2019 - Saturday

    Thursday isn't a good day for birthday parties, so we celebrated Nonny today, with pizza and cupcakes and presents and Super Mario Smashing Brothers, or whatever it's called, and also Lego ninja movie. I think he was happy!

    Watched:

    • The Lego Ninjago Movie: A very ridiculous movie, but charming. (How can it not be charming, it has Jackie Chan!)
    • Sailor Moon Stars 184: Well, at least Usagi had lots of company when she had a hot guy over while her boyfriend was out of town?
    • RWBY 5.8-9: Yang's anger issues, Raven's clever plan, pitched battles in menagerie.
    • Chihayafuru 3.2-3: Chihaya has her right hand back! But she has to choose between karuta and not getting expelled.

    Read:

    • The Promised Neverland vol 12 (Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu): Finally they are getting close to the root of the real problem, which probably means a lot more battles to the death and also unpleasant revelations are coming up.
    • My First Vampire Blood Drive, Rose/Briar: We Dragged Our Manager Into Our Girl Group, and Galaxy Ballerina (Mira Ong Chua): Extremely cute but kind of silly lesbian romance. (Okay, Galaxy Ballerina isn't silly at all, but Rose/Briar makes up for it.)

    Words: FAIL.

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    15 November 2019 - Friday

    I did some work and some other work today, but now I will always feel that no one thinks I am doing my share and I should die in a pit. But if I die in a pit, Marith and Aspen will have to die in a pit too, which isn't fair to them.


    Watched:

    • The Good Place 4.8: Those were very touching! And also, wow Michael! That was unexpected support!
    • The Good Place 1.2: That's not a bad metaphor for Eleanor at that stage. But somehow Chidi did the thing.

    Words: FAIL.

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    14 November 2019 - Thursday

    HAPPY HAPPY NONNY-DAY!!


    I made a dumb mistake at work, but fixed it so other people could do their work. I guess that's okay? Probably not.

    For a change, the train was not too late and I got home from late work at an expedient time.


    Read:

    • Laughter at the Academy (Seanan McGuire): Short story collection, much of which I had read before. Contains all the important McGuire tropes, like mad scientists, murders, monsters, more murders, mutations, genocides, etc.

    Words: FAIL.

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    13 November 2019 - Wednesday

    It turns out that I have gained fifteen pounds since I started this job, so that's not great. No more noms at work, I guess! Also, if it seems like I have some ADHD lately, it could be because I do and several years ago I switched away from Wellbutrin for my brain pills so the ADHD stopped being treated. I'm not convinced, I think I had already switched to Cymbalta for a few years before I stopped braining at work, but neither brain chemistry nor introspection are very sharp. I will still see what an actual psychiatrist thinks before changing my brain pills, because I think the current prescription does the best so far at antidepressing. Finally, I apparently have an enlarged turbinate, which could be why I snorfle all the time and don't sleep well. So overall I am glad I went to the doctor this morning instead of working, even if my job now probably thinks even less of me.


    Ken and Ayse's place is relatively plague-free, so we all got together for Vietnamese food and 13th Age Glorantha.

    Before everyone assembled, Mike oppressed my and Dave's Home Team characters with Lunars and wanted posters because the Goat-Suckers are really pissy about that one guy Brogandi decapitated for trying to steal the sacred kite. Guest starring Jus as Brogandi's smol cousin, who was not eaten by Lunar lion warriors.

    Once we had all the grown-up gamers, we switched to the Away Team in the Mad Sultanate, where they fought some more broo who would have been more terrifying if they had been able to roll higher than 3, but probably would still have won if conjoined strangers had not showed up to use magic from previous editions on them. The strangers seemed very powerful, but when they offered to escort the Away Team safely through the Sultanate in exchange for a little impregnation, or maybe just some philosophical discourse, Garstal the Surprisingly Well-Read Trickster was all, "Thanks, but we better be going now. Right, guys? Right?". Mernyr took the hint and declined the offer, which somehow didn't start a fight and also didn't get anyone knocked up or Illuminated by the demigods who spawned the Lunar's horrible goddess.


    Words: FAIL.

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    12 November 2019 - Tuesday

    Marith is being virtuous and doing job hunt stuff, so no watching tonight. Will I be similarly virtuous? Signs point to "no", but I have stuffing to eat.


    Words: CHECK, somehow. But now I need multiple villainous plans to manipulate my poor protagonist.

    Make a comment!

    11 November 2019 - Monday

    Blah, Monday.


    Watched:

    • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power 4.11-13: No spoilers, but legitimate wow! (Okay, minor spoiler: an energy source so powerful it blew all the gel out of Adora's hair!)

    Read:

    • Inverse Fellowship (Jacob Randolph): A followup to Fellowship, with a more specific setting (from Inverse World) and the Overlord replaced with the Horizon, to make it a game of exploration instead of the general case of LotR. Not as revolutionary, but probably a perfectly good game.

    Words: FAIL.

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    10 November 2019 - Sunday

    I tried hard to be useless, but made it to the bus in time to get to Palo Alto for Atlantic City Rollers. This issue, the reality-bending Mav Bilium, having dropped the Dazzlings through a trapdoor into a fractal dimension, declares that she has won the wager the local and Brooklyn mobs had on the Battle of the Bands and is now the Mob Boss of Atlantic City (complete with wide lapels and Stutz Bearcat). Then she drives off with all of the mobsters present, back into her dimensional sculpture.

    Huh.

    Mav is probably up to something, but no one knows exactly what until her goons try to rob an armored car using strange dessert-themed weapons. Despite the gooiness, the goons are captured, and most of the money is saved. When Feathers analyzes the weapons, they are incomprehensibly bizarre, but when Moth and the Mechanic analyze the goons, they are willing to say where Mav's new hideout is.

    Anonymouse sneaks in through the airducts (which are surprisingly large for a residence) and finds a bewildering maze with vents that let her spy on rooms that are not in the same time or climate zone but all contain Mav, in different-colored outfits. Apparently she is sticking with the board games theme. Eventually Anonymouse finds the room with the version of Mav that is briefing her underlings on her plan to do all the important mob boss things, like bank robberies, but without hurting any bystanders. Then Anonymouse tries to escape through the room with the pool, instead of through the ventilation system, and finds herself trapped in Arizona. Fortunately, she can hitch hike back to cell phone service and arrange to get rescued before her family explodes.

    At this point, the Rollers are convinced that Mav a) just wants to have a mob boss experience, and b) is strongly influenced by human culture, so they watch a bunch of classic gangster movies and use this knowledge to predict where she is going to attack for each part of her plan and mostly foil her with no loss of life and little loss of property (which is all insured anyway).

    Surely next issue, Mav will go away happy with her mob boss tourism experience, and everything will be fine in Atlantic city.


    Watched:


    Words: FAIL. Unless you count this journal entry.

    Make a comment!

    9 November 2019 - Saturday

    No anime, Ayse and Ken are still full of plague. We did successfully shop for presents for Nonny's upcoming birthday, though.

    Ugh, B&N has so much more manga than my local indie bookstore! I know I can browse at the chain and then order through the indie, but that's several extra steps and a minimum of a week's delay. Capitalism, why do you have to suck so much?


    Watched:


    Words: CHECK.

    Make a comment!

    8 November 2019 - Friday

    Made it to Friday, somehow. It's hard to concentrate and be a good productivity unit when I'm sleepy, though.


    Watched:


    Words: FAIL.

    Make a comment!

    7 November 2019 - Thursday

    Usually the last part of the day when I stay late is pretty quiet, but tonight we had tickets to work on until I left, and some of my coworkers were still there working on Important Customer X's certificate issue.

    Because I get to leave at 19:00 during Daylight Spending Season, I could have gotten home by 21:00 except that the train was massively late because some bozo got their car stuck on the tracks. At-grade crossings: threat or menace?


    Read:

    • This Is How You Lose The Time War (Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone): Two transhuman time agents from vastly different post-human futures fall in love through secret messages left throughout the timelines!


    Words: FAIL.

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    6 November 2019 - Wednesday

    The middle of today was taken up with a company meeting, but it wasn't the one where we all get fired, it was the one where we all get crystal obelisks to commemorate the company having survived and even prospered for ten years. Then we all went to Stein's in downtown Mountain View and ate huge amounts of food on the company's dime. It was pretty good food! Also we had the whole outside area, so I was not oppressed by horrible indoors noise.

    Somehow I got a little work done after that.


    No gaming, Ken is sick, Kelsey is sick, Brooks is trying to not be sick. Boo, germs.

    Instead I spent the evening trying to convert Kobo ebooks to Kindle. It works, but it's really manual and clunky. If I don't keep up with books I buy, trying to do a big batch will be really painful.


    Watched:


    Words: KINDA. I mean, not 100, but I added a few outline things.

    Make a comment!

    5 November 2019 - Tuesday

    I did work today, but it wasn't very satisfying. I'd rather sleep.

    On the train, I ran into someone from my job before last. He is doing well, although now he works for a subsidiary of Microsoft.


    Watched:

    Read:

    • Strata (Grant Howitt, Christopher Taylor): A big hardback supplement for Spire, with like ten campaign frames (all with copious content warnings), more setting stuff for the top and bottom of Spire, more depraved cults to join, and an 87% chance of being sacrificed for the good of the Ministry!

    Words: CHECK. Writing up an island for a kickstart of fantastical islands that I backed.

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    4 November 2019 - Monday

    I felt productive in the morning, but then the afternoon stretched on forever.


    Watched:

    • Leverage 1.4: The one with the church.

    Words: CHECK. Just stupid notes, but they are in Scrivener so they kind of count.

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    3 November 2019 - Sunday

    Daylight Spending Morning! I slept in until a million o'clock, which was like sleeping in until 1000001 o'clock as far as my body was concerned! Then I had to do work all afternoon, because sometimes on-call is like that. I didn't work very hard on the low-priority case, but it was enough to keep me from doing much of anything else.


    Watched:

      Leverage 1.3: The one with horses. And Elliot backstory.

    Read:

    • Rapscallion Ashcan Edition (Whistler): Pirates, PbtA! I don't know if the magic is quite my aesthetic, but it seems playable, even in the ashcan edition. I would very much like to give them money for a complete edition! Because pirates!

    Words: FAIL.

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    2 November 2019 - Saturday

    Normal, useless, Saturday.


    Chicken fajitas, but I accidentally brought Tortillas of Unusual Size, so they were weird. But still chickeny!

    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 182-183: Uh-oh, new villains! And a new... smol pink-haired girl? Plus Pluto appearing mysteriously.
    • RWBY 5.6-7: Raven spills a bean! People go "aura and semblences, okay, but what do you mean by 'magic'?"
    • My Hero Academia 66: How does that quirk work, anyway? Not well enough to make Deku disrespect All Might!
    • Chihayafuru 3.1: Karuta camp! Will Chihaya having to use her off hand be as much of a handicap as Rion's lack of commitment to the game?

    Words: ETERNAL FAIL.

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    1 November 2019 - Friday

    Wait, what? November? Really?


    I failed again at work, but then I worked on rewriting some docs, which go through review and therefore might suck less?


    Watched:

    • The Good Place 4.6: That's probably the real one. Depending on what's in the book.
    • The Good Place 1.1: All that stuff happened in the first episode?! I thought that was like half the season!

    Words: FAIL. I am not doing NaNoWriMo because I know I can't write that many words before December unless I rearrange my life to an implausible extent, but maybe I can get back to 100 words per day? I think I really have to do some outlining because the worldbuilding and the vague plot of my WiP don't actually go together. But tonight I am journalling and stupiding.

    Make a comment!

    31 October 2019 - Thursday

    We had skulls and spiderwebs and candy at work (and plastic rats, which I found in poor taste for a break area but no one asked me), but no Halloween party and I don't think anyone came to work in costume at all. This is fine with me.


    Apparently my boss is not fine with me, though, because he had a chat with me about how I'm not not doing my job, exactly, but I definitely am not living up to my potential. Perhaps he's excessively impressed by my ability to do mental arithmetic, but it's still a fair cop. I guess it's time to make an appointment to get my sleep fail and brain fail looked at! Also this weird thing growing my nose.


    India has no notion of Daylight Saving Time (probably because they got to redo their country after WWII), so when the US goes back to standard time, the time for handing over to the India team shifts by half an hour. That happens next week, but this week there was some confusion and we ended up in a halfway state, which was still enough for me to catch a reasonable train. (The train was not reasonable, but hopefully that was an aberration.) Thursday night commute in winter might get me home an hour earlier!


    Words: FAIL.

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    30 October 2019 - Wednesday

    Further adventures of the 13th Age Glorantha Away Team, who are still trapped in the Mad Sultanate no matter how much they taste the sand, and also attacked by nangrels. Apparently nangrels are now the team's nemesis, ever since the trickster got the dog thrown out of the steading in the Hero Plane.

    Also Chinese food, from the kind of place where you have to look through Yelp photos in hopes that someone took a picture of the menu with their phone. It was actually not bad!


    Read:

    • Black Magic (Grant Howitt, Christopher Taylor): Spire supplement. Blood-witches! Drow hearth magic! Demonology! Magic bees!
    • Secrets Kept From The Sun (Chad Walker): Another Spire supplement. Short pamphlet of tradecraft for the Ministry.
    • Codex of the Deep Spire (Jordan Shiveley): Yet another Spire supplement. Mostly rantings of someone who delved too far into the Heart and the terrible things he found there and the terrible things he started noticing everywhere after that.
    • Salvation Lost (Peter F Hamilton): The doom that was foretold in the first book comes to pass, as well as some doom in the future plotline. Also, more aliens are alluded to.
    • Tomo-chan is a Girl vol 5 (Fumita Yanagida): Definite progress! I actually thought this might be the end, but Jun was not ready to go that far.

    Words: FAIL.

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    29 October 2019 - Tuesday

    Watched:

    • Leverage 1.2: Still has plot holes you could drive a truck through, and it no longer seems topical. But Parker is still great.

    Read:


    Words: FAIL.

    Leverage by marithlizard (Sat Nov 2 07:27:49 2019)

    Oh, I dunno, the evil mercenaries with government contracts are still thriving even if we gave up hope of being able to do anything about them years ago and they were only really on the American news radar briefly. It's worth reminding people that they exist, even if I was sullen about the unrealistic power fantasy of getting back at them :)

    Re: Leverage by Trip (Sat Nov 9 15:21:49 2019)

    Leverage is nothing but unrealistic power fantasies of getting back at them, for various values of "them"!

    Make a comment!

    28 October 2019 - Monday

    The weighted blanket doesn't seem to have helped me sleep, but it was definitely very heavy!


    Now I have 10 meeples of each of 21 colors. Muahahahaha!


    Watched:

    • Leverage 1.1: This doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I see why people like the characters. Especially Parker.

    Read:

    • Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir): Possibly not as great as the Internet hype claimed, but still pretty good. Lesbian necromancers, intense frenemyship, locked-palace mysteries, possibly the most haunted house in the universe, Gideon gets to beat a lot of people up! I am looking forward to the next book, which is going to be so full of so much doom.

    Words: FAIL.

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    27 October 2019 - Sunday

    Make-up session of Atlantic City SCRPG!

    I missed the last session, but apparently there were hurricanes and cockroaches and swamp critters and mysterious transfer students and someone playing Monopoly with the city and turning random streets into modern gravitational sculpture.

    This session, conflict between local mobsters and the raygun-toting Brooklynites trying to muscle in is sublimated into a battle of the bands by mysterious women with contagious mind-control magic! The charity concert for disaster relief got turned into a huge competition with national stars and surprising local acts, like the mysterious transfer students and the reality-shaper.

    Then there was a big part in the middle where we didn't know whether to try to enter the contest ourselves (no, Moth was the only one with actual musical skill), or back one of the other bands, or stay neutral and just protect the contest against interference. Like, say, the spreading mind control that made everyone in town think the battle of the bands was a great idea and choose sides. At least Feathers was able to make some kind of frequency-canceller to keep the judges from being mind-whammied.

    It was probably for the best that Moth's secret ID got eliminated from the contest early on, because it meant she could be in hero ID when the mysterious transfer students started glamouring the crowd and luring them up on stage to serve as human shields and propmpting the two sets of mobsters to fight and generally causing a ruckus. A huge fight ensued, the transfer students combined into a three-headed dragon, Moth displayed surprisingly demonic powers, and then the reality-shaper dropped the dragon into a dimensional oubliette. "Guess I win!"

    Dave was not very happy with how this session went, and I can't blame him. It definitely bogged down at points, mostly when we didn't know what to do, or when we made Dave improvise instead of relying on his preparation.

    I might be a better GM than Dave, which seems like a terrible thing to think.


    I have a weighted blanket! I will have to see if helps with sleeping.


    Watched:

    • Elementary 3.5: No Watson at all! But Kitty is not a terrible character.

    Read:

    • Spire (Grant Howitt, Christopher Taylor): Apparently I only read most of this, but after playing at BigBadCon I reread it from the start, and it is pretty awesome. Creepy masks! Dark gods! Midwives with too many legs! Exceedingly unwise use of magic on the part of pretty much everyone! Revolution!

    Words: FAIL.

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    26 October 2019 - Saturday

    We tried to take a bunch of stuff to electronics recycling, but failed because the place closes at an inconvenient time. Boo.

    Then we went to sushi for Ayse-day (observed) and it was good, and also afterwards there was cake and coloring books.


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 181: Usagi! Don't go on dates with stupid boys just because Mamo-chan flew away and never writes back to you!
    • RWBY 5.4-5: Oscar totally has a crush on Ruby. Does Weiss have a crush on Yang? No one likes the White Fang priests.
    • My Hero Academia 64-65: Recap episode! But not too much recap, and some heartwarming. But then, villainous plotting!

    Words: FAIL.

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    25 October 2019 - Friday

    Today there was a surprising amount of work, but I did some of it and didn't die.


    Watched:

    • The Good Place 4.5: Okay, I guess that does answer that question, probably.

    Words: FAIL.

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    24 October 2019 - Thursday

    Nobody likes Thursday. Thursday is gross and takes too long.


    Read:

    • A Spark of White Fire (Sangu Mandanna): I wanted to like this, because a space-opera retelling of the Mahabarata should be cool, but mostly it just reminded me why aristocrats and monarchs should line up for the guillotine.

    Words: FAIL.

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    23 October 2019 - Wednesday

    HAPPY HAPPY AYSE-DAY!!


    Ken took Ayse away for birthday festivities, so we had to have his character run away and hide from the entire session, but whatever. Tricksters. We got Indian food and he didn't, so there!

    Also we finished up the fight against the broo (which might have been only one broo and a bunch of Chaos weenies tripping on spores, but they all needed to die and also we will never speak of this again). Then a monk from some weird Lunar place escaped being sold into thralldom and got chased by a Krarshtkid right into the Mad Sultanate. It's a good thing we found her before the other Chaos did!


    Started but didn't finish The Night Crossing (Robert Masello). Victorian namedropping, life-stealing Egyptian sorcery, whatever.


    Words: FAIL.

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    22 October 2019 - Tuesday

    I finally finished writing up the con and gave the URL out to people who might want to comment. None of them did, though.


    Watched:

    • Cannon Busters: The end! Well, season finale, anyway; no idea whether there will be a second season. The final boss reminded me of the Steven Universe character designs a little, but maybe that's just me.

    Read:

    • Salvaged (Madeleine Roux): It looks like space zombies at the start, but it's not, exactly. It's much worse.

    Words: FAIL.

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    21 October 2019 - Monday

    Wait, why is it Monday again already? I didn't order this!

    At least I have pesto sundried tomato gnocchi to eat.


    Watched:

    • Cannon Busters 9: Prophecies and social hierarchies are no way to run a bottomless hole!
    • Cannon Busters 10: More twisted Western, and weird bounty hunters.

    Read:

    • Gleipnir vol 4 (Sun Takeda): Female lead will definitely be okay with this use of male lead's power.
    • The White People (Arthur Machen): Subtitle: "Two horrible old white guys read a teenage cultist's diary". I can see how T Kingfisher expanded it into The Twisted Ones, though!
    • O Maidens In Your Savage Season vol 4 (Mari Okada, Nao Emoto): This episode: Jealousy! Failed seduction! Breast envy! Breast solidarity!

    Words: FAIL.

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    20 October 2019 - Sunday

    No gaming, somebody is busy or dead or something.

    I tried to catch up on journaling, but mostly was very dumb.


    Watched:

    • Cannon Busters 7: Was it really a good idea to teach SAM to roast her friends?
    • Cannon Busters 8: Good job showing us that the people of Totally-Not-Tiphares are monsters without the road trip having to go there.

    Words: FAIL.

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    19 October 2019 - Saturday

    Ack, cleaners, throwing my schedule off! But at least the apartment is less horrible.


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 179-180: Sailor Stars and Inner Sailor Scouts continue to bond, Sailor Stars and Outer Sailor Scouts continue to not bond.
    • RWBY 5.1: Oscar/Ozpin exposition.
    • Shirobako 3: More anime-making details, and a nice tension between the director wanting to make the story better and everyone else not wanting to redo half an episode at the last minute. But it really would be better!
    • RWBY 5.2-3: Weiss vs wasps! White Fang vs White Fang! Motivational speech!

    Words: FAIL.

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    18 October 2019 - Friday

    Yay. Friday. I'm not dead. I haven't done anything about writing up the con, but maybe in theory I will?


    Watched:

    • The Good Place 4.4: Oh wow, I completely missed that! I am appropriately chastened to have been outwitted by Jason!
    • Cannon Busters 6: Quick side trip into the horror genre!

    Read:

    • Princess World Short Story Edition (Kevin Petker): It's great!
    • Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell): Fanfic writer goes to college, her twin sister is more popular in person than her, her roommate is too hot, her English professor doesn't understand transformative works, everything is terrible. The fanfic she is writing is Carry On, about her world's equivalent of Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy, which Rowell later had to actually write. (I was rooting for the hot roommate, but no, it is het romance.)

    Words: FAIL.

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    17 October 2019 - Thursday

    Usual late work, blah. But at least I came home to really yummy salmon, even if I had to eat it at 93492346 o'clock at night.


    Read:

    • Carry On (Rainbow Rowell): It's like an alternate universe's version of the end of Harry Potter, where the hero finally finds out what's going on with his prophecy and what the villain is really like and also that his male roommate is in love with him and boysmooches ensue. I appreciate that Rowell addressed some of the questions not addressed in HP, like "Why even are muggles?" and "Chosen one of prophecy? Really?" and "WTAF, Dumbledore?"
    • Wayward Son (Rainbow Rowell): Sequel to Carry On, the three main characters go on a road trip to America, which is huge and terrifying and has guns and VCs and makes no sense to anyone from a sane country. A very different book than CO, and not as much to my taste, but I still like the characters. Even though Penelope completely deserved it.
    • Right to the Kill (Craig Schaefer): Fifth book in the "Harmony Black" series, where the title character and her band of monster hunters get to start taking the fight to the enemy. Also, Harmony may finally be meeting the consequences of going around dressed like That.

    Words: FAIL.

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    16 October 2019 - Wednesday

    I carpooled down with Ken, so we were able to pick up Thai food and be in good time for 13th Age Glorantha.

    This session, the Home Team returned with the sacred kite to great approval of their elders and bonus breakfast, then flew in spirit to Orlanth's Hall for the high holy day. Later, Ox-Arm and his shield-maiden Kora showed up to demand were-gild for the cottar that Brogandi decapitated. Ox-Arm made a surprisingly good case, because he is apparently even better at bringing lawsuits than at murdering people with an iron sword, but to no avail. The goat-suckers probably have a grudge against Brogandi now. Surely that will never amount to anything, right?


    Read:

    • Komi Can't Communicate vol 3 (Tomohito Oda): Komi is still adorable, her friends are still wacky but nice to her, the manga is still adorable.

    Words: FAIL.

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    15 October 2019 - Tuesday

    Ugh, back to work. I don't want to prop up capitalism from collapsing under its own inability to create software, I want to play games!


    Watched:

    • Shirobako 2: There's a little more of what they're rushing around about in this episode, so I like it better. Still no idea what most of the terms mean, but I can see that they are obviously important.
    • Cannon Busters 5: That was surprisingly sweet for an episode where someone gets dissolved in acid!

    Read:

    • Ghostly Things vol 1 (Ushio Shirotori): Girl with absent father moves into haunted house, makes friends with spirits. She has an ulterior motive, but that doesn't save it from being bland.
    • Miss Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles vol 1 (Naru Narumi): 2/3 detailed ramen information, 1/3 girl-crushes.
    • Emergency Skin (NK Jemisin): That was not subtle, but then we're not in an age where the message needs to be anything except shouted from the rooftops.
    • I Married My Best Friend To Shut My Parents Up (Kodama Naoko): Fake relationship becomes real, girl-smooches ensue. Take that, homophobic parents!

    Words: FAIL.

    Make a comment!

    14 October 2019 - Monday

    Sleeping in forever and then petting a cat must count as decompressing from convention, which is one of the things I must do today. It doesn't really help with any of the others, though, so really it would have been just as good to spend the morning on the train back from staying over for extra gaming.


    I saw someone with a shirt that had a picture of a shark and said, "Daddy Shark" on the front, but it did not say, "Doot Doot" on the back, so there was definitely room for improvement.


    Aspen is certified as being as in as good health as can be expected for a kitty of her age! (Which is to say, her kidneys are still a bit dodgy even after getting rid of the infection, but not enough to require treatment beyond the special food.) Also she sang revolutionary anthems all the way to the vet, which is definitely a sign of vigor. Hurray Aspen!

    Marith is sick. It is very sad. No watching.


    Words: After the con, back to FAIL.

    Make a comment!

    13 October 2019 - Sunday

    09-13:00 Princess World! I knew nothing about this game, but it sounded good and also had room for another player!

    I was a little worried because the GM and all the other players were women and at least two of them trans (unless there's another way to take comments like "my parents used to think they only had sons"), but no one gave me a hairy enough eyeball that I noticed, so I guess it was okay? Probably?

    Anyway, we had all five of the playbooks from the current beta version of the game:

    • Harvestbell the Fairy Princess
    • Princes Prism Sundown, the Skateboard Princess from the Digital Realm
    • Captain Princess Ruby, the Pirate Princess
    • Princess Anastasia, the immortal Proper Princess
    • Xeda, Explorer Princess, the Space Princess, here to appreciate Earth's diverse flora and fauna

    I was Captain Princess Ruby, the Pirate Princess! My hat was inherited from my mother, the Pirate Queen! My coat was made from the hide of the first sea serpent I slew! My harpoon was never far from my hand! Nobody could stop me! I had two threads from the Proper Princess, because I told her where a treasure that had been stolen from her family was hidden, and two threads from the Skateboard Princess because I saw her fall when the viruses invaded her digital realm. I gave two threads to the Fairy Princess because she'd sailed me (once not even as a stowaway) and one to the Proper Princess because I had stolen something from her (her heart, though Ruby didn't know it).

    The Princess Council had many problems to deal with, including droughts, hurricanes, necromancers with bone towers, low bandwidth, and agitated capybara people ("do capybaras even have an 'agitated' setting?"), but when the Weaver threw in "the Maiden of the Moon is unhappy", we decided to address that first. The Moon affects tides, so it must affect weather and such (as was said several times during the game, "that's just science!"), and that way we could clear up many problems at once. The Space Princess took us there in her Even Bigger Rocket, but the signs were badly placed or something, because we ended up on the dark side of the Moon, with a werewolf who didn't like visitors because he had mild social anxiety. There was some blustering on both sides but eventually we just parked our flying saucer somewhere else. We were still on the dark side of the moon, so the Fairy Princess had to stay close to the Skateboard Princess to get enough light from her LED jacket to photosynthesize an atmosphere for us. ("That's just science!")

    From there, we hitched a ride with mouse truckers hauling cheese through the express tunnel to the light side of the moon, caused a commotion in the city of lunar animals, argued with an officious ferret cop, stuffed the Maiden of the Moon's chameleon butler into the Skateboard Princess's pocket when he wouldn't let us in, and climbed a very tall staircase. The Proper Princess was lagging behind due to her modest skirts, so Ruby ran back down and carried her the rest of the way up, completely unaware of the effect she was having on her. Finally, we talked our way in to the dark room where the Maiden of the Moon was lurking and found out that she was hiding because her girlfriend had dumped her.

    Montage scene of cheering up the Maiden of the Moon by magic tricks (Fairy Princess), trash-talking her ex (Skateboard Princess), inducting her into the Princess Council (Proper Princess), and flirting with her (Pirate Princess). Hurray!

    We only made like half a dozen rolls the whole session, so the mechanics didn't get a workout, but that was fine. We had a lot of fun anyway. In fact, I think this game was the most fun of the five I played in. It wasn't serious or intense, but that's fine. I'm not a serious or intense kind of person, really. I wonder if I could run Princess World next year?

    End of the con! Even on Sunday, travelling back during the afternoon was fairly efficient and I got home and fell over in a slimy heap.


    So what did I think of Big Bad Con? I think it was great, and definitely plan to go again next year! Apparently this year we completely filled the space in the traditional hotel, and all other spaces are more expensive, so I don't know exactly what will happen next year, but I am pretty sure the con will still happen.

    Next year, if the schedule is the same, I will stay an extra night in the hotel so that I can game on Sunday afternoon and go home Monday morning and not die.

    I was a little disappointed that the dealer's room didn't have more than I wanted to buy, but really that's my fault for having already bought everything.

    Carl and the people he knows wanted to go to barbecue every night, which is not ideal, but there are many other tasty foods within walking distance of the hotel, and even more within complimentary hotel shuttle distance, so it need not always be that way.

    But what about the games I played? I have thoughts!

    Dungeon World (GM): I have run DW before, and people even enjoyed it, but I think that I have finally done it somewhat correctly. Map with blanks, fantastical world, etc. I didn't use fronts/grim portents in these games because they were so short, and I haven't ever done followers, but the things I did use I think I got right. Except ranges in combat, maybe. Also, using miniatures or meeples to illustrate battles is good.

    Likelihood of my running this game again next year: high.

    DIE: I'm sure having to pack the entire frame story and campaign into one four-hour con slot did not show this game to its best advantage, but I'm not as excited about this game as I thought I would be. Maybe it's that I never experienced a long-running campaign world until I got to college and I'm still gaming with some of those people, so I don't have the feels for the getting together again after many years. Maybe it's that I haven't watched all 46 seasons of Arrested Development or otherwise immersed myself in media where all the plot and humor comes from every character being terrible and dysfunctional. Or maybe I just don't know how to make a realistic character. Whatever the case, I didn't get into the emotional drama as much as other people seemed to. I'm also dubious about the system, since it seems to result in everyone being mortally wounded multiple times per battle, or maybe one person being untouched.

    Likelihood of my playing this game in short form again: low.

    Likelihood of my playing this game properly: moderate.

    BFF!: Apparently I can't play kids. Or, again, maybe I just can't make realistic characters. I didn't have any great ideas for scenes, and I didn't get picked for many scenes because my character didn't have enough hooks.

    Likelihood of my playing this game again: I mean, I would if someone asked.

    Royal Blood: This game only tells one story, but it does it well. I tried to be clever with the junk magic and ended up too abstract to ever come up with good descriptions, but I will know better next time.

    Likelihood of my playing this game again: high.

    Spire: It's about elves and oppression! And although it's not Forged in the Dark, it's clearly a near cousin. The setting might be a little too well defined, but I'm sure it would be fine to pick and choose from the huge pile of fantastic weirdness rather than making everyone memorize all of it.

    Likelihood of my playing this game again: high.

    Princess World: This game is the general case of She-Ra, yet somehow I did not play Catra! I did play a pirate, though, so that was good. There are only five playbooks right now, but there are more on the creator's Patreon, and he plans to Kickstart an expanded version with art and stuff next spring.

    Likelihood of my playing this game again: high.

    Likelihood of my running this game next year: high.


    Watched:

      The Good Place 4.3: Are things going well? But then... OMINOUS FINAL SCENE! Shirobako 1: Okay, so making anime involves a lot of running around. I knew that. The drag races are a surprise, though.

    Make a comment!

    12 October 2019 - Saturday

    9-13:00 Dungeon World, run by same bozo as yesterday!

    Again one person just never showed up, but Liralen and Jet (wait, when did Jet become a grownup? what even is time?) made it, along with a couple of people I didn't previously know.

    • Dr Theward Savage, MD (Xander), British imperialist barbarian, born on safari and eager to publish while the wogs perish.
    • Prof Jadaia (Liralen), the wizard who invented the Astral Resonance Tuner for SCIENCE!
    • Allestra (Jet), moon-worshipping paladin.
    • Trixie (Andy), halfling thief determined to get rich selling moon rocks.

    It was interesting to see how many of the same choices the completely disjoint sets of players made: having the wizard in the group, the ART being a massive installation in the wizard's tower that made a portal, going to the Moon to rescue someone (in this case, a grad student who had from the locked Astral Tuning lab overnight), heading for Copernicus (although this time, they said that the crater wasn't there before they first tested the ART and now it was locked to that spot).

    I had better pacing this time, and just had the Lunars kidnap the wizard and try to use telepathy crystal arrays on her to open communications, which turned out to be the right approach with this group. They were all for talking with the locals and explaining the benefits of being colonized. Dr Savage and Allestra even let the Lunars' minds grow together with theirs, which certainly wouldn't ever cause problems. ("This system of exchanging notional tokens for goods and services seems like it would inevitably lead to perverse incentives.") But they didn't get distracted (much) from trying to rescue the grad student from the clutches of the Reassembled. This time I remembered to mention the poison from the Reassembled, and that was enough to have Dr Savage cutting open Allestra's chest and pressing her lungs to the crystal ground while Prof Jadaia poured on their entire supply of healing potions. I didn't even have to have any mechanical effects! Fortunately, instead of waiting to be rescued, Trixie was busy luring her captors into a landslide-based trap.

    The grad student had to be killed, unfortunately, but at least then he was accounted for. The PCs went back to tell the Lunars about what happened instead of immediately running for the portal, so I had them finally get to the portal only to find it being occupied and fortified by the Reassembled. Roll credits!

    This time we did use some of my office supplies, although not the easel pad, and many of the cider donuts were eaten, so that was good. When we needed to show what was going on, Trixie's player broke out some little wooden meeples, which was brilliant. I need to get some of those!

    13-14:00 Dealer's room, picked up only a few things this time, but did get my copy of BFF from the Kickstarter all those ages ago.

    14-18:00 Royal Blood, also run by Carl.

    Royal Blood is a Tarot-based magical heist game. The PCs are Royals, half-human and half-idea, but wanting to be more, and this is the one night that one of the Major Arcana is vulnerable to having their power stolen. You have from sunset to sunrise (plus flashbacks) to displace them from the Tarot.

    You can redraw, but we all took what the deck gave us for characters.

    • Effervesence, "Ves" (Kona), Prince of Cups, icy manipulator.
    • Helen (me), King of Cups, passionate seductress.
    • Lady Chaos (Pedro), Queen of Wands, ass-kicker.
    • Knight of the Mountain (Jet), Knight of Wands, action hero, the least magical of us and (as it turned out) the only one with a moral compass

    We also took the first draw for our target, the Star. Effortless mastery, glamour, glory, we hates them! We hates them so much! (Also we determined a reason why each of us hated the specifically, like dissing Lady Chaos's beloved dive bar.) Then the GM drew for the four obstacles that we would have to overcome before we could confront the Star directly: a skilled minion (the best PA in the world), a loyal bodyguard, vast wealth (embodied in the best security team in the world), and a rival band of Royals also trying to steal the Star's power (which we decided was the Princesses of the four suits).

    The way Royal Blood works is that you apportion N×3 tokens among the four obstacles, and then have to go back and remove them, so you get to pick which one(s) you want to see most of in play. Some instinct toward symmetry made us put three on each, but really we should have put most of them on the Four Princesses, because what's more interesting than Carl NPCs? But it worked out in the end, because the Princesses were going after the Star for the hell of it, and were content to try again later. (That will be next year, when Carl does the Four Princess Run as his Royal Blood game for BBC 2020.) We found out what kind of person Helen was when she was willing to hospitalize an innocent bystander to get the Star's PA out of the way, but the Knight of the Mountain wasn't willing to shoot someone in the head, which is a definite moral victory.

    It came right down to the wire (we got some good draws at the very end, and the next few cards after that were... not so good), but the Star went down, and the Burning Heart replaced them in every Tarot deck in the world.

    That was pretty intense, even though we had very little Tarot lore among the five of us. I would play Royal Blood again, if I had serious gamers and a 4-5 hour slot.

    18-20:00 Apparently barbecue is the theme for this year's BigBadCon, or maybe just this year's Carl, because we went to Sauced. The house special is "burnt ends" which are not actually burnt but like twice-spiced and twice-barbecued brisket cubes, and they aren't always available, so I felt that I should have them even though I normally eschew mammal meat. My mouth liked them a lot, but later my stomach was sad that I had not packed antacid.

    20:00 Pokemon Go tried to make me late, but couldn't quite! I got into Spire, a game I own but have never played. It is about elves and oppression: the PCs are drow living in a fantastical mile-tall city which has been conquered by the "high elves" with their creepy masks and draconian cruelty and daylight gods, and are all members of a revolutionary/occult cell that worships one of the illegal aspects of the drow triple goddess and plots the overthrow of the oppressive aelfir.

    I don't remember any of the names, but this pregen cell had

    • Idol: enchanting art (ours was a dancer), with the power to start a party anywhere.
    • Firebrand: full-time revolutionary soapboxer and fighter against The Aelfir.
    • Knight of the North Docks: more of a knight-themed gangster with an affinity for pubs, but also legally entitled to carry (if not use) a big honking lance.
    • Inksmith - detective pulp writer, with the occult ability to make reality more like pulp novels.
    • Mask: skilled at passing in masked aelfir society, and disguise in general.
    • Azurite: priest of wealth and commerce.

    Our assigment from our handler was to steal something from a particular aelfir and make sure she never reported it stolen to anyone. In theory we could have done something clever to deal with the second requirement, but Jenora Ride-The-White-Lotus was busy "improving" the traditional drow art of blood opera by murdering drow on stage, so we were all fine with treating it as a straight hit. We came up with a multi-pronged plan that used everyone's talents whether needed or not, and somehow it worked. The Mask got everyone lots of bonuses, the Azurite procured a duplicate of the object, the Idol made the switch and also got everyone in the theater sloshed, the Knight (me) got cast as someone in the climactic battle, the Firebrand turned off the lights at the crucial moment so a tragic accident could happen, and the Inksmith had a visit with the costar our target had recently dumped, leaving behind a gun that the costar used to shoot the target dead (and a good thing too, we would have had a lot of trouble taking her down on our own, stupid aelfir). Despite the complexity of the plan, we finished by 23:00, which none of the players were really sad about.

    With pregen characters and a short session, we didn't get into even a fraction of the occult weirdness that is Spire.

    23-24:00 Getting to bed early is not a terrible thing, even if it seems like a waste of precious con hours. I didn't have anything scheduled for tomorrow afternoon because everything was full, but now there's an opening in a She-Ra game (using Savage Worlds, which I don't know but could learn). It's very tempting, but according to Google, if I try leaving Walnut Creek after 18:00, I will end up having to walk home from the San Jose train station carrying all my stuff in the middle of the night and probably die, so apparently I should just go home after the morning gaming. Next year, I will stay over Sunday night and go home Monday morning, which will mean both an extra game and much nicer travel.

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    11 October 2019 - Friday

    09-13:00 Dungeon World, run by some bozo!

    One person didn't show, but it's not like they came in, saw what was happening, and left, so whatever. Life happens. The fewer people to witness my shame, the better, right?

    Our PCs were

    • Fender Fink, a very sketchy thief with an intermittent accent who finds it advisable to get out of town again.
    • Ignis, an enby immolator who has never burned a moon.
    • Gerda, a cleric of the moon goddress Lunificence, who rules over mysteries and secret knowledge, along as theological advisor. She believes that the Moon is made of crystallized hopes and prayers.
    • Halwyn, a wizard with a tragic moon-related past. It turned out that all Halwyn's wizard colleagues had disappeared at some point in the past while researching moon magic, and ever since then he had been burned by moonlight. Determined to face his nemesis head-on, and maybe rescue his old teachers and friends, he obsessed over reaching the Moon until finally the Astral Resonance Tuner was complete.

    When I showed them an unlabeled map of the Moon and asked where they wanted to end up, they agreed unanimously that Copernicus crater was it. (Gerda said it was a meeting place for astral travellers.) Ignis and Halwyr powered up the portal, and through they went!

    Naturally I worried about not having prepared enough, and also about having prepared too much, but it turns out that for a four-hour con run, my collection of images and fragments about the Moon and its inhabitants was just about right. I was able to give enough description of the mountains of white crystals and craters full of mirrored liquid and floating disks with tentacles underneath that the PCs could get traction and start causing trouble almost immediately, and once they made contact with the Lunars, I was able to provide ominous hints about the Red Mind that came crashing down from the sky and its habit of remaking people into violent monsters. I hadn't consciously planned it, but having strange creatures or maybe even a whole world within/through/virtualized on the crystals gave me a good excuse for what I had planned not matching what the moon-worshipping PC believed should be there.

    I had been hoping to have a confrontation with the Red Mind, but there just was not enough time, so we had to make confronting Halwyr's mentor (as possessed by the Red Mind) the climax. I did waste some time having them taste the sand trying to communicate with the first Lunar, but even without that I don't think there would have been time.

    Other mistakes were made! I vastly overestimated the amount of munchies a gaming table can eat, so I had to take almost all of them back. BigBadCon provided character name/pronoun tents so I didn't need the index cards I brought all the way from San Jose, or indeed any of the office supplies, including the big easel pad that was such a pain to transport. Someone took photos of us. But overall it was not as traumatic as it could have been.

    13-14:00 Decompressed in my room. Ate leftover donuts.

    14-18:00 DIE run by Carl!

    DIE is complicated because you have to make (terrible, or at least dysfunctional) people who are gamers, and also the characters they will play. We ended up with:

    • Bear (Jon), screenwriter about to launch the hot new show on Disney+, playing Tristan the Godbinder
    • Roger (Aaron), prescription drug abuser, playing Halfar the Neo
    • Fletcher (John), seedy private eye, playing Fletch the Trust Knight
    • Brock (me), whose football and schooling ended up going nowhere, playing Caerleon the Fool
    • April (Carl), Fletcher's little sister, playing May the Master

    Once, all of them played in the Dragonia campaign, run by Bear, where dragons were kings and they were the loyal knights of King Thelonius when he was a runt trying to gain his throne, but then high school ended and life ensued (with a lot of sordid adultery and overmedication and general failure). Now Bear is about to have the premiere of the show he has developed, Dragonia, and April has gotten everyone back together for one last session. It's using the game that those kids from England were playing when they vanished, but what gamer wouldn't go for that?

    Magic dice! Now everyone is in Dragonia, being attacked by horrible dragon-monsters! Fortunately everyone gets their dice and powers before being killed, although almost everyone goes to the "will die at end of scene" level of damage at some point. Once that gets sorted out, Tristan and Halfar learn form their powers that the world will end in 42 hours unless all surviving people from Earth unanimously agree to either stay in Dragonia forever or return to Earth. May has hidden out in a forbidden cave at least two days' travel away, but Halfar can overclock his teleporter with all the rest of the fair gold they got from the first fight.

    Volcanic labyrinth, I roll about a million dice using the Fool's special power and Brock leads them right to May, there's some combat with dragon guards and the wicked vizier, and then they have to talk down May. All of Dragonia was her ideas, Bear just appropriated them to run the game and then passed them all off as his own to make the TV show, and she is understandably resentful. Plus, Dragonia is awesome! Brock is good with staying, since his life is a wreck, but Roger and Bear have children back on Earth, and Brock is not okay with killing May or anyone else in order to stay. Finally Bear offers April the co-creator credit that she always deserved, and she agrees to return to Earth.

    DIE is supposed to play out over at least a few sessions, so one con timeslot wasn't enough for the full experience, but I think we got the idea. More time for people's motivations to drive them to murder would help a lot.

    18-20:00 Walked with Carl and Liralen and a bunch of people Carl knows to Kinder's, which fortunately had barbecue chicken as well as other kinds of meat.

    20-00:00 BFF, run by one of the creators!

    BFF is a very tactile game, with lots of heavy cardboard pieces. You get to pick one of about twenty standees to be your character, and then put charms on your charm bracelet to signify things that someone likes about your character. It is also very heartwarming, and doesn't even have a concept of failure: everyone takes turns framing scenes at some location within the larger place/situation (summer camp, the mall, etc) with whatever other characters they like, playing a card with a goal like "ask about a crush" or "make a promise together", and then RPing the scene until it's done. Every larger location ("hangout") has some rule for determining when you have to stop setting scenes there, then you move on to the next. When you feel like stopping, you're done.

    All of the players were adult guys, so I feel like we were probably missing something, but I think we had fun anyway. We did Summer Camp (before every scene, choose to advance the day marker until you run out of days at camp), sleepover in Tiffy's Room (move the decibel meter up or down depending on how noisy you think you were in the scene, until Tiffy's parents come and make you go to sleep), and Lulu's Basement (roll 1d6 to find out what Lulu's dad is doing during this scene, and if you roll something he already did, he makes you all go home). I was playing Tiffy, the girl in an eggplant costume, so I was quite surprised to find out that her room had a telescope, a shrine to Wandy (apparently some kind of pop star?), and cereal dispensers loaded with strange things from Japan. Someone managed to poison herself with shrimp chip cereal and chocolate milk.

    I think this game might be too heartwarming for me, but I'm glad I tried it.

    Make a comment!

    10 October 2019 - Thursday

    HAPPY HAPPY MARITH-DAY!!


    Despite sleeping in stupidly again, I did make it to the T-Mobile to finish getting my number transferred. (It finally worked when we inconvenienced a manager on their side.) Then I hustled over to Office Despot to get all the character sheets and basic move sheets printed on nice cardstock and buy lots of pens and pencils and markers and index cards and easel pads Just In Case and made it home to finish packing and set out for Walnut Creek.

    Four transfers and a hike later, I made it to Big Bad Con, where I found and then promptly lost Liralen.

    I never had the gumption to pick a random person and say hi, even though it would probably have been fine, so I ended up watching the boffer combat lessons for a while until someone who didn't have a sparring partner pulled me in. No one cared that I hadn't signed up! It was fun, but I am super-terrible at all forms of melee combat, so I could only reliably beat the little girl.

    Tomorrow I have to run Dungeon World! Gaaaaaaugh!

    Make a comment!

    9 October 2019 - Wednesday

    I took today off so I can prep for Big Bad Con, but mostly I slept in like a useless lump, even though the exterminators showed up at 9:00. Good thing Marith was awake to show them her silverfish problem!

    Because I am composed of 100% useless sludge, I only managed to poke at files before it was almost time for gaming and I had to run to try to get both a new phone that holds a charge for longer than an hour and printed-out character sheets before going to Ken and Ayse's. Fortunately, it is all on the same bus line.

    Less fortunately, although getting a new phone from T-Mobile (recommended by Ayse) was fairly easy, AT&T is a butt, and would not process the transfer of my phone number to the new phone even though we spent much of the evening trying. Props to the T-Mobile guy who kept trying even though he had to do a five-minute authentication dance for each try.

    I didn't make it to Office Despot at all, I'll have to try to do that tomorrow after trying to finish the phone thing.

    This week we continued the adventures of the 13G Home Team. Our Humakti successfully defeated the rival tribe's hero to the point where he didn't contest our claim to the kite any further, which was good because my character had already decapitated one of their mooks in the process of retrieving the kite and our horses and was all set to steal their horses. The players ate Greek food.


    Read:

    • Dead Dead Demon's Dededede Destruction vol 2-3 (Ino Asano): More slice of life in a Tokyo that is under constant threat from the mysterious hovering alien spacecraft. (The SDF seems to cause way more Japanese casualties than the aliens ever have, though.)

    Words: FAIL.

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    8 October 2019 - Tuesday

    Because I have Wed-Fri off this week, tonight has to be the night I stay late at work and creep slowly home in the dark. Also I have to run Dungeon World in three days. I'm doomed.


    Read:

    • Dinosaur Princesses (Hamish Cameron, Dana Cameron): $dinosaur can be any kind of dinosaur or any other animal, $princess can be any occupation, simple dice pool mechanics suitable for young gamers.
    • Street Cultivation (Sarah Lin): Martial-arts levelling-up drama (it's a genre now!), except the entire economy and system of privilege/oppression is based on chi instead of money, so it's actually about poverty as well as punching people.
    • The Forbidden Stars (Tim Pratt): Concludes the trilogy, fairly satisfyingly, but I'm not sure the superintelligent adversaries were shown to best advantage.
    • The Twisted Ones (T Kingfisher): Wait, T Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon) does horror?! Apparently so, and the first part is indeed very creepy! There is a point where the heroine learns the monsters' motives (because Vernon) and the genre shifts, but it's still pretty tense. Based to some degree on "The White People" by Arthur Machen, which I have never read.

    Words: FAIL.

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    7 October 2019 - Monday

    It's Monday, but also Thursday!

    My boss was indeed disappointed in me for missing the SLA. I suck.


    Tonight is the important pre-con ritual of dinner with Liralen and Carl at Chef Chu! Also present were Chrisber, Christy, and Teo (who is like a middle-schooler or something now?), and Earl and Cat. Because we are so efficient at this, we were fed and gossiped in like an hour and I was able to get home without dying.

    So much Peking duck. (I know the city is Beijing, but the food still seems like Peking to me.) Maybe next year I'll suggest changing all the other dishes instead of ordering the same thing for twenty years in a row, but the Peking duck stays.


    Read:

    • The Library of the Unwritten (AJ Hackwith): All the stories that haven't been written are kept in a library under the protection of Hell. But now a book has gone missing and angels and Valhalla and all kinds of crazy stuff is getting involved and the grouchy librarian, her spunky Muse assistant, and a cute demon are in a lot of trouble. Betrayal, interdimensional pursuit, dead gods, and desparate last stands are all involved.
    • Golgotha (Greg Saunders): Dungeon crawling recast as SF. Mysterious entities send you into the war zone between vast alien empires to pillage the ruins left by extinct aliens. If you can survive the automated defenses, usurper aliens, and other hazards and escape with the target artifact before the empires get around to crushing you, the Overseers will reward you by making you better. But will you ever decide that you're good enough to reach your real goal, or will you be trapped on the treadmill of levelling up until you push your luck too far?

    Words: FAIL.

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    6 October 2019 - Sunday

    Today I was on call, so I could not go to gaming! Or go much of anywhere to work on con stuff, or otherwise be useful. I tried to get lunch, but that made me miss the [CLASSIFIED] response SLA, so probably my manager will be disappointed in me tomorrow. Glug.

    I did have all day to sit at the computer, so I did a little poking at files. I have questions about the Moon to ask characters, anyway.


    Watched:

    • Cannon Busters 3-4: Less gore, more killer robots. I sure hope SAM gets more free will in her choice of friends, because I'm not very impressed with the prince.

    Words: FAIL.

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    5 October 2019 - Saturday

    Today I meant to prepare for the con, but despite having been on vacation for a week, Jus was up for birthday pumpkins and birthday sushi, and also cake and presents, so that took up pretty much the whole day. She is very pleased with the giant food truck her parents got her, though.


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 178: Luna × Yaten, the shipping commences!
    • RWBY 4.11: Salem is very augh.
    • AKB0048 9: First live-fire concert for our heroines!
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 25: End of the season! But I hope there will be more seasons for the rest of the story, because this one was very well done.

    Read:

    • Combatants Will Be Dispatched vol 1 (Masaaki Kiasa, Natsume Akatsuki, Kakao Lanthanum): Villains working for a villainous organization invading a fantasy world, but the protag is just a stupid jerk and the locals are composed of about 80% fanservice.

    Words: FAIL.

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    4 October 2019 - Friday

    This time next week I will have run Dungeon World for people I don't know, augh!


    Watched:

    • The Good Place 4.2: The sad thing is, that's not even the bottom of the barrel.

    Read:

    • The Housing Crisis (Kate McLay): Catholic girl moves to the big city and learns that compulsory heterosexuality cannot compel her. Cute.
    • Magic in Her Touch (Kate McLay): Lesbian paranormal romance, teaming up against an asshole. Probably the first written of these because it's not nearly as good.

    Words: FAIL.

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    3 October 2019 - Thursday

    Back to Thursday doom this week.


    Read:

    • A Book of Beasts and Freebooters on the Frontier (Jason Lutes): Third-party Dungeon World supplements, probably not directly useful for the games I have to run for strangers, but good for my brain to chew on.
    • The Bluff (Kate McLay): Part of a series (or parallel?) of lesbian romances that all take place at a horror con in Las Vegas. This one is by one of my pocket fronds, and is about an actress and her hot bodyguard. I think there is a total of one named male character.

    Words: FAIL.

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    2 October 2019 - Wednesday

    Because Ken is having fun without us in Portland, we played 13th Age Glorantha at Mike's place in Palo Alto. It was easier to get to gaming for everyone except Dave, and easier to get home for everyone except Dave and I, but it is not compatible with Ken putting Jus and Nonny to bed, so it's not going to happen regularly.

    Kelsey had trouble finding the place, so we did like half a round of the Away Team fighting the Broos of the Mad Sultanate before we found out we could play the Home Team after all. They only had a huge rock full of ghosts, a raven that still wasn't letting go of their kite, and a bunch of scrubs and a hero from a rival clan who wanted to steal their treasure.

    Susan brought us Afghan food because she is awesome.


    Read:

    • We Never Learn vol 5 (Taishi Tsutsui):
    • Grave Importance (Vivian Shaw): The premise of this series appears to be "a doctor who treats supernatural creatures", which sets up a certain kind of story, but actually it's "a doctor to the supernatural who lives through world-shaking events", which is weirdly different. But although Greta doesn't have as much power as what's going on, she is a good person, and that makes a difference.
    • Angel Mage (Garth Nix): Musketeers + angelic magic + huge disaster + copious bi smooches!

    Words: FAIL.

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    1 October 2019 - Tuesday

    HAPPY HAPPY JUS-DAY!!

    Double digits, wow!


    I sort of did a work, I guess.


    My todo list for the BBC games is getting longer, not shorter, but at least today I managed to find out where an Office Despot is, so I can probably get most of the physical bits I need.


    Watched:

    • Cannon Busters 1-2: Okay, this is pretty charming. Marith says the energy is a combination of Cowboy Bebop and Slayers. It is the SF Western genre, but at least this time there is civilization for it to be be lawless frontier of, instead of just all West all the time. Kind of gory.

    Read:

    • We Never Learn vol 4 (Taishi Tsutsui): Another girl for the harem, but reasonably organically. And the hot young teacher is getting more page space.

    Words: FAIL.

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    30 September 2019 - Monday

    I ran into one of my coworkers from my previous job on the train. He has a new job and is not dead, so that's good.


    There are so many things I should be doing to prep for running at Big Bad Con, and yet I am doing none of them, even though Marith is too bleah to watch TV.


    Read:

    • Demons of the Past: Revelation (Ryk E Spoor): Space adventure + Atlantis + demons. Possibly related to Princess Holy Aura, but probably not.
    • We Never Learn vol 3 (Taishi Tsutsui): More fanservice, more misunderstandings, more awkwardness.

    Words: FAIL.

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    29 September 2019 - Sunday

    I slept in until 34895640 o'clock and then did nothing useful all day.

    Watched:

    • Elementary 3.4: I can see Sherlock being a biochauvinist, but otherwise their foray into AI philosophy was not amazing. Not as bad as magnets, though.

    Words: FAIL.

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    28 September 2019 - Saturday

    Ken and Ayse and Jus and Nonny have all flown away to Portland to have fun and waffles!

    Marith wanted to go over anyway, which seems fair because it is the only time she ever sees other people, so we ate pizza and watched anime with Dave.

    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • RWBY 4.3-10, 4.6.5, 4.9.5: Look, it's season four! Plus Schnee Dust Co and the Great War. (Okay, it's not all of season four, we have like two episodes left.)

    Read:

    • Rando Splicer (Joel Shepherd): The party having been split in the last book, each part gets through their own battles and finally rejoin after blowing up a bunch of unpleasant aliens. Apparently they have to go even further, into more danger, before they can save humanity. Also, poor Skah.

    Words: FAIL.

    Make a comment!

    27 September 2019 - Friday

    Oh, now it's Friday. But that means we can watch The Good Place!

    And here we see that the demons are a poor metaphor for Republicans, since they experience consequences for their shenanigans.

    My mouth is getting better, so that's something.


    Read:

    • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur vol 4-5 (Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain): Moon Girl vs Girl Moon! Moon Girl and the Fantastic Three vs the end of the world!
    • Uncrowned (Will Wight): Every martial arts epic has to have a tournament arc, right? Although in this case it's going to take at least two books. At least the main characters have begun to consider the possibility that they like like each other. After seven books.

    Words: FAIL.

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    26 September 2019 - Thursday

    I didn't have to stay at work late tonight! But I've gotten home late two nights in a row, which means this is Friday, right? Right?

    My mouth still hurts when I try to do silly things like chew or swallow.

    Watched:

    • Elementary 3.3: Sherlock might not be 100% terrible, but that doesn't mean you can just go around thinking he knows what friendship is.

    Huh, all the games at Big Bad Con are full. Maybe I shouldn't have spaced so long on the third round of signups. Well, a couple of slots free for Games on Demand or resting or dying in a pit isn't bad.


    Read:

    • The Book of Betrayal (Melissa McShane): Fifth in the series about the random lady who ends up in charge of a magic bookstore. The external conflict is escalating apparently without limit, but the internal conflicts are sort of being resolved. With smooches.
    • Die vol 1 (Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, Clayton Cowles): I read #1-4 as individual isssues, but this collection includes #5 and its horrifying revelation. Apparently the RPG wasn't released until after #5, so I guess it's not a spoiler for the game.

    Words: FAIL.

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    25 September 2019 - Wednesday

    My mouth still hurt this morning, so I blew off work and went to urgent care. The doctor thinks I have a blocked parotid duct, and all I can do is wait it out (and suck on lemon drops). Great.


    Dave was busy in San Francisco today, Kelsey was as usual not available, and Brooks was meh, so instead of 13G to go with our tacos, Mike and Ken and I had Gloomhaven. We got a few more cultists for Mike's character's retirement goal, and some money, so that was good. The new 5th level murder rat card is pretty sweet, but it's a multiattack, so it didn't help with my scenario goal of taking an enemy to -4 health. Bah!


    Read:

    • The Girl From The Other Side vol 7 (Nagabe): This seems like a monotonically increasing doom!
    • Chilling Effect (Valerie Valdes): Space adventure with WOC protagonist. Reminds me a little of A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, with the spaceship crew as found family and the enthusiastic interspecies romance. Way more landspeeder chases and explosions, though.

    Words: FAIL.

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    24 September 2019 - Tuesday

    I swapped with Coworker T, so I stayed late tonight. It was about the same as usual, except I am even grouchier because the inside of my mouth hurts and eating is a pain.


    Read:

    • The Girl From The Other Side vol 6 (Nagabe): I can tell that this is enormous doom, but I don't know where it's going. I might be able to figure it out if I could keep track of the details from five volumes ago.
    • Tales From Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyle (Charles Gilman): Middle Schoolers vs alarming, somewhat Mythos-related goings-on at school. The middle schoolers are not, themselves, Mythos-related. Mostly.
    • Gate Quest (Lindsay Buroker): Fifth book in the series, has a middle-book feel. But one of the potential couples did an affection!
    • Castaway Odyssey (Eric Flint, Ryk E Spoor): I liked the previous book in the series okay, but the explaining in this one was too much. Also, for the first three quarters of the book, there is a total of one (1) female character and she is in a coma. This is so there can be more heteronormativity when they meet up with the cast of the previous book, which was almost all women, but still gross.

    Words: FAIL.

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    23 September 2019 - Monday

    Watched:

    • Elementary 3.2: No, you can't do that, and it wouldn't work that way. Even if you got the thing to happen, the requirements and side effects would be unmistakeable, not mysterious. Just, no.

    Read:

    • Sankarea vol 10-11 (Mitsuru Hattori): All is explained! The end! It is pretty dark, although not quite as bad as I thought it might be.
    • Defying Destiny (Andrew Rowe): Last of the trilogy that started with Forging Divinity, leads right into Six Sacred Swords (which in turn is a story being told by someone in On The Shoulders of Titans).
    • Paper Girls vol 6 (Brian K Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Jared K Fletcher): The end! It is not an unusual or inappropriate ending for a time-travel story, especially with the way their time travel works, but I still found it a little unsatisfying. Oh well.

    Words: FAIL.

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    22 September 2019 - Sunday

    First full session of Dave's Sentinel Comics RPG campaign! As threatened, the entire adventure was built around a single play on words, in this case "drain the swamp". After forming a team, we started with a mayoral campaign and ended up saving the city from a shambling swamp. But we did save it!

    I suck, so I didn't have a new character sheet, but my old one was good enough. Mostly I just suck, though.


    Watched:

    • Carol & Tuesday 3: No. This is not doing anything that couldn't be done in New York in 2010, and it wouldn't be interesting then.
    • Elementary 3.1: Huh, new character. Wonder if she'll die horribly before the midpoint of the season?

    Words: FAIL.

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    21 September 2019 - Saturday

    The cleaners were extra-early today, blargh. Then Marith was dead, so we didn't go shopping until the afternoon, and then she was dead some more. Since Ken and Jus and Nonny are all sick, we cancelled anime, but I went over for a little while to deliver chocolate donuts and cinnamon bun spread, and appreciate the bread that Ayse and Jus made from scratch. It was good!

    I spent the evening trying to rewrite my character for tomorrow's game, because I didn't do that at any point during the preceding two weeks, because I suck.


    Words: FAIL.

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    20 September 2019 - Friday

    I skipped out of work early to go to the climate strike, in a probably futile effort to show The Yout' Of Today that some old farts don't want to murder them. Anyway we walked from the train station to city hall and there was really bad singing and some speeches and it was 98346923° out and the mayor of San Jose seems okay but the guy who is trying to displace Pelosi by talking about the "Criminal Intelligence Agency" seems unlikely to get anywhere.

    I sound unenthused because it was too hot (...wonder why?) but actually I was glad to see the young people being motivated.


    We tried watching Carol & Tuesday because the Internet says it's the best thing since forever, but at least the first two episodes really aren't. The dub is so-so, the plot is uninspired, and there is no visible reason to put it on Mars or in the future.


    Read:

    • Sankarea vol 3-8 (Mitsuru Hattori): This is as far as I got last time. Am I a bad person for being more upset about the cats who were harmed in the making of this zombie love story than any of the humans?
    • Sankarea vol 9 (Mitsuru Hattori): New material! The present doom is intensifying, and it looks like we might find out about historical doom.
    • Underlord (Will Wight): Finally the main character and his friend have made it beyond the levels that he knew existed at the beginning, which means they're at the bottom of the next tier of powers in the world. Also the higher-level plot that we see in glimpses is heating up.

    Words: FAIL.

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    19 September 2019 - Thursday

    Boo, Thursday.


    Read:

    • Ghostwater (Will Wight): Dungeon crawl, where the treasure is more powerful martial arts, and the monsters are other martial artists.

    Words: FAIL.

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    18 September 2019 - Wednesday

    Grey morning again, but no rain and not particularly cool, so I didn't feel more than the usual urge to go back to bed.


    I carpooled with Ken again. I still don't know how to talk to people in cars, but we made it to San Jose without dying or starting a revolution.

    Kelsey is off amazing and astounding her colleagues at a conference, so we played the "away team" of Mike's 13th Age Glorantha again, still trying to get out of the Lunar Empire. We disgusted some Yelmalians, avoided having villagers try to rob us, and then stumbled into the Mad Sultanate. Where by "mad" we mean "Chaos". At least we had Indian food.


    Read:

    • Blackflame, Skysworn (Will Wight): Next two books in the series. Our Hero is discovering that what his people thought was the pinnacle of martial arts power, attained only by legendary masters, is considered the basic level for any adult in the wider world. There are hints that the even wider world is even more levels ahead, too. But at least he has a mentor willing to torment him into learning forbidden arts, and a best friend who he might be aware is a girl.

    Words: FAIL.

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    17 September 2019 - Tuesday

    I tried to switch to a slightly less terrible phone carrier, but they won't do business with me because Equifax (yes, them) says mean things about me. They won't say what the mean things were, apparently only one bit actually gets transmitted, but sometime in the next three weeks I should be getting a better explanation from the credit oligopoly. Then at least I'll know why I'm stuck with AT&T.


    Both my games at Big Bad Con are full, so I can disappoint Liralen, Jet, and eight more people all in one weekend!


    Grand finale of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance! Huh, that wrapped up less than we expected. But the credits did say S1, so I guess they're hoping for two more seasons from Netflix? Maybe by then the gelflings can develop some sort of martial skillz, because they sure don't have any now.


    Read:

    • Sankarea vol 1-2 (Mitsuru Hattori): Been sitting on my shelf for ages since I finished collecting all 11(?) volumes, but now I am reading it because I have Too Much Commute. So zombie. Very fan service. Wow. But the main characters do have some kind of personality.
    • Unsouled, Soulsmith (Will Wight): Young is born deficient in the magical martial arts power that is all-important to his people, has to make his way up through the enumerated ranks to get unprecedented power through gumption and cunning. First two of a series.

    Words: FAIL.

    Full games by marithlizard (Thu Sep 19 00:45:30 2019)

    YAY!

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    16 September 2019 - Monday

    When I got up, it was cloudy and cool and raining a bit, which is perfect going-back-to-bed weather, but it's Monday. Boo!


    Read:

    • My Hero Academia: Vigilantes vol 4 (Hideyuki Furuhashi, Betten Court, Kohei Horikoshi): The showdown between Knuckle Geezer and Bee Girl! Also, the Band Episode!
    • The Legendary Inge (Kate Stradling): What if the person who killed Grendel was a young commoner girl? Not exactly, there are castles and standing armies and such, but close enough. There are a lot of revelations over the course of the book that make it more plausible that she did it, which might be over the top. Het romance, but he's sarcastic and cool.
    • A Boy Called Hawk (Kate Stradling): Dystopian near future, mysterious government schools, children with Mighty Brains, protagonist tries to be nice with mixed results.

    Words: FAIL.

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    15 September 2019 - Sunday

    I meant to get up and do things, but instead I slept in until 23956923 o'clock, and then when I tried to get up, I accidentally stopped moving which threw me into some kind of sitting doze with more dreams about work (not my actual job, but a combination of several jobs and surreality), and then I read terrible manga and went to lunch. Ayse said she would text me if there was an expedition to their local art and wine festival, but that never happened (kids, probably) so I spent all afternoon staring blankly at Tumblr.

    The Kickstarter union-busting story is spreading. I am happy that I recognize so many of the names on the list. I did tell one company that I wouldn't be able to back their upcoming campaign because no scabs, but no response yet.

    The creators on that list aren't asking for a boycott yet, so I don't feel a need to cancel my current pledges today.


    The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance continues to get more doomed, although the good guys might finally be getting their act together. They surprised a prophet, anyway. Only two episodes to go!


    Read:

    • Interspecies Reviewers vol 2 (Amahara, masha): Still no redeeming social value, but about three panels of plot. This volume: golems, amateur egg-laying shows, real succubi, and magical clones. Don't read this.

    Words: FAIL.

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    14 September 2019 - Saturday

    I meant to do things today, but no.


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 177: Uh oh! Someone is making moves on Usagi while Mamoru is out of town!
    • RWBY 4.1-2, 3.5, 4.5: This is why normal people don't walk anywhere! Also, faunus genetics is weird. 4.4.5:
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 23-24: Finally, Kyo's horrific backstory and traumatic revelation!

    Read:

    • Yuri Life (Kurukuruhime): One-page slice-of-life comics about lesbian couples, a dozen or so per couple, all young and cute and happy. Each set ends with "And they lived happily ever after!". So, not much plot or drama or even a whole lot of characterization, but there are definitely people out there who need this representation.

    Words: FAIL.

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    13 September 2019 - Friday

    I should be coming up with a letter to Kickstarter, but I have no brain, so I watched The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance with Marith instead. Yikes! That is not okay!


    Read:

    • Silver Spoon vol 9-10 (Hiromu Arakawa): Now definitely past the anime, but Hachiken is still very much a Hachiken. Maybe he can say no sometimes, though?
    • Stealing Sorcery (Andrew Rowe): Sequel to Forging Divinity. Slightly less annoying demigods, murder mystery, more conspiracies and betrayals, some flirting but still no actual romance.
    • Eye for an Eye (Erik Scott de Bie): Prose supers but would probably work well in comics form. Maybe related to other series but I couldn't tell and didn't need to know.

    Words: FAIL.

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    12 September 2019 - Thursday

    Marith waiting on making dinner until I was close to home so it would be warm and sociable when I got in, but I was not at all appreciative because I suck. :(

    While eating the very nice shrimp dish Marith made, I found out that Kickstarter is union-busting. Well, I shouldn't be spending so much on Kickstarter campaigns anyway. But now I have to figure out how to write a Strongly Worded letter to Kickstarter.


    Read:

    • Silver Spoon vol 7-8 (Hiromu Arakawa): The Doom That Came To Komaba.
    • Forging Divinity (Andrew Rowe): Same universe as the "Arcane Ascension" series, but different time and place. Well-defined magic as you'd expect from an RPG setting, cool guy with a magic sword, secret societies, asshole demigods. Lots of violence, very little smooching.

    Words: FAIL.

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    11 September 2019 - Wednesday

    The restaurant failed us by being sold out of both duck and mango, but that could not stop us from having Thai food while trying to play 13th Age Glorantha. I don't know why I had no trouble being decisive with my character in the other team but can't do anything useful with this character even though by both stats and fluff she should be much more of a natural leader. Maybe it's that we have no clear course of action here, or that recognizing a clear course of action would require knowing lore than only the GM really knows and only another character can roll for, or that I'm dumber than usual tonight. I sure hope it's not because the other character is a guy. Maybe I'll just sit in a pit and never game again.


    Read:

    • Seed (Ania Ahlborn): Horror. Do not read if you object to bad things happening to children, or if you want anyone to survive. Actually, unless you're a hardcore horror fan, just don't read.
    • Scourge of the Realm (Erik Scott de Bie): The great hero who liberated the kingdom from the evil tyrant has become corrupt, and the princess must assemble a band of antiheroes to overthrow him. Betrayal, treachery, hidden motives, sex-positive religion, song-based magic and martial arts, gross patriarchal monotheism, heroic sacrifices, and backstabbing.
    • Silver Spoon vol 6 (Hiromu Arakawa): There is something weird about Mikage's face. Maybe she needs more nose?

    Words: FAIL.

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    10 September 2019 - Tuesday

    The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance continues to be very pretty and very doomed.


    Read:

    • Silver Spoon vol 4-5 (Hiromu Arakawa): Hachiken is such a hachiken!
    • A Swift Kick in the Asteroids (Edward Zajac): Apparently from the school of non-genre-aware writers who think parodies of Ralph 124C 41+ defined SF.
    • Odd Essays (Jan Siegel): Subtitled, Twelve Extraordinary Stories of Sex, Travel and Tentacles, which is true, but does not explain why it took me so long to recognize the conceit. Gets points for pale skin being freakish and for words where you can see the bogus etymology. Loses points for gender roles being the same as modern.

    Words: FAIL.

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    9 September 2019 - Monday

    Boo, Monday.


    Read:

    • Silver Spoon vol 2-3 (Hiromu Arakawa): It feels like this is going faster than the anime did, but we keep getting to things I remember, so I guess not!
    • The Queen's Gambit (Jessie Mihalik): On the level of Star Wars. Het romance. It's interesting how much direct neural links have become standard in stories with even the thinnest trappings of SF, though.
    • Cloud with a Chance of Dropbears (WR Gingell): Another short piece showing how terrifying Pet and her fae are from the outside.

    Words: FAIL.

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    8 September 2019 - Sunday

    Now that we've finished the starter kit, we can make our own characters for the Sentinel Comics RPG and Dave can make his own adventures! No one can stop us, no matter how much they love the existing Sentinels fake continuity! (No offense, Robert.)

    The best character is Rachel's time-travelling uplifted velociraptor supersoldier gadgeteer. Second best is Jeremy's Maserati cyborg ex-gangster and his brother the sports car. Edie made an ex-cop with a bow who likes to perch in high places, and we're not sure about Hazel's character because she turns invisible.

    I don't know how to make characters.


    Marith was dead from biology, so we didn't watch anything or cook any dinner beyond chicken strips or do anything else requiring a brain.


    Words: FAIL.

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    7 September 2019 - Saturday

    When I stopped petting Aspen and went to the other side of the apartment to do something, she followed me and demanded more pettins!


    Ran into a coworker from previous job on the way to grocery shopping. She has bailed to Netflix, so I gather there's not much left of the company that laid me off, or my stock grants. Bah!


    Dave went to an Extinction Rebellion meeting because he is not a loser like me, but then he lured Mike down to play Gloomhaven with Ken while Ayse and Jus are away getting eaten by bears camping. (Marith very kindly entertained Nonny, or at least sat with him while he watched his iPad for 39456 hours straight.) Murder Rat did a murder! In fact we cleaned up scenario #7 pretty handily, which opens up scenario that will get Mike's character what he needs to retire. Murder Rat got a special item that improves her(?) deck and levelled up, so that was good.

    Also we had some pizza and Marith and I watched a little RWBY with Dave.

    • RWBY 3.10-12: Battle of Beacon! Ruby explodes! Yang explodes in a different way!

    Words: FAIL.

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    6 September 2019 - Friday

    The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance continues to be full of aesthetics and also rock monsters and killer dinosaurs!


    Read:

    • Silver Spoon vol 1 (Hiromu Arakawa): The anime, which I saw ages ago, follows it pretty closely, so no surprises so far, but it's still good. Arakawa character designs are weird in a non-FMA manga.
    • Knight Protector (Lindsay Buroker): Short piece set in the "Star Kingdom" universe with one of the few hereditary nobles of greater than zero worth, a het love interest, some derring-do, and low-income housing.
    • The Key of Apollo (Riley D Brady): Greek myth bloodlines in the modern day, with extra supernatural beasts. Biracial protagonist, no romance, some rehabilitation of the Titans' image.

    Words: FAIL.

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    5 September 2019 - Thursday

    Usual Thursday commute doom. At least Aspen doesn't need to get fluids every day now, so I can go to bed more expediently. Except dinner.


    Read:

    • Wayward vol 4-6 (Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, Tamra Bonvillain, Marshall Dillon, Zack Davisson, Ann O'Regan):
    • To Be Taught, If Fortunate (Becky Chambers): Not related to A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. All about the emotions and experience of ethical exploration. I understand why some people don't like the end, but I think it works.
    • How To (Randall Munroe): ...accomplish all kinds of normal tasks, like dig a hole or provide electricity to your house, in the most ridiculous or impractical way possible. You know how xkcd works!
    • Star Nomad (Lindsay Buroker): The "Star Kingdom" books weren't terrible as SF (mostly), but this was pretty much Star Wars. Asteroid belts where you can practically walk from rock to rock, space wizards, het romance, Alliance vs Empire, etc.

    Words: FAIL.

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    4 September 2019 - Wednesday

    I was going to try to carpool with Ken as alternative to dying of the commutes, but his car needs the frammistat replaced and it took him half a day to successfully navigate the hell of car rental, so I only rode back to Monkeycat Mountain with him. It worked okay, and was somewhat faster than transit, but traffic is terrible and I hates it.

    Once we were there, we found out Kelsey was cancelling again, so we ate Chinese food and tried to finish the heroquest. Victory! Wait, aren't you supposed to come out of the hero plane where you went in...?


    Read:

    • Wayward vol 3 (Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, Tamra Bonvillain, Marshall Dillon, Zack Davisson): Wait, Ireland, what?
    • Dragon Spear (Jessica Day George): This time, the dragons are being mind-controlled the old-fashioned way, by being raised by assholes.

    Words: FAIL.

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    3 September 2019 - Tuesday

    I worked from home today, so I was stupid and unproductive. Boo. But I was able to go to the vet with Aspen (instead of making Marith do all the work) and the vet confirmed that she is doing much better. She still has the kidney infection, though, so she needs to get more mouth squirts. Weeks and weeks of mouth squirts. It is so hard being a kitty!


    The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance 3: Still plot! I really don't understand how the Skesis have not already murdered each other by bits and pieces.


    Words: FAIL.

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    2 September 2019 - Monday

    It's Labor Day, so I joined the Wobblies. Unions for all!


    I now know when I am running things at Big Bad Con: 9-13:00 on Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th! (I could have known earlier if I hadn't been scared to look.) Fortunately there is no way this can end poorly.


    More The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Yikes! I would not show that scene to kids!


    Read:

    • Heartless Princess Adventure Kit (Aaron King): "All the worlds ended, literally broke apart, but the Heartless Princess saved the bits she could, embedding her icy city at the top of a new patchwork planet made of the fragments of the old. You are her trusted aides and servants and envoys, and today she has a request." There is other material too, like the bits that didn't get assembled into the patchwork world and are still orbiting it, and the ocean where a goddess raised islands in the shape of letters so voyagers spell out a message to her estranged lover. Written for D&D5 mechanics, but good OSR feel. A collection of ten zines in a box with oracular lining.

    Words: FAIL.

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    1 September 2019 - Sunday

    Another session of Sentinel Comics RPG, finishing the six issues from the Starter Kit! Previous sessions have run short compared to previous games, but this one ran long, probably because it was full of exciting things that would be spoilers to describe. It was very comic-book, though, and we got right down to the end of the scene tracker before we triumphed.

    Everyone wants Dave to keep running, so we will try to use the beta character creation rules to make our own characters and fight crime. Perhaps it will even work!

    Got home late, but did not actually die.


    We started watching The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and it is very pretty. Except the Skesis, they're gross, as they should be. I completely don't remember the original movie, which I haven't seen in like forty years, but this seems to stand okay on its own merits. I'm not sure I'd show it to a kid, though.


    Words: FAIL.

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    31 August 2019 - Saturday

    Ken and Ayse and Jus and Nonny went to the water park all afternoon, so we brought them food from Taiwan so they didn't have to cook. The special mango chicken received glowing praise.

    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 174-175: Villain lair sequences! Usagi hogging all the information! Fangirl Ami! Minako chasing her dreams!
    • RWBY 3.8-9: Penny vs Pyrrha, fight!
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 22: Hanajima's tragic backstory of tragedy.

    Read:

    • Witch Hat Atelier vol 3 (Kamome Shirahama): Disabled representation, but maybe the points went into paying for a superpower?

    Words: FAIL.

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    30 August 2019 - Friday

    Yay, it's Friday!


    Finished season two of Elementary. I'm not going to say Mycroft is the smarter brother, but he is much smarter and a better brother than Sherlock ever gives him credit for.


    Read:

    • Duskfall (Christopher B Husberg): I liked it okay, but I think it counts as extruded fantasy product. The naming does not really work quite right, and the Catholic Monlithic Church has political power and a creation myth but apparently no actual guidance for people living their lives.
    • Dragon Flight (Jessica Day George): Sequel to Dragon Slippers. It looks like dragons just take 2x effect from [SPOILER].
    • Wayward vol 1-2 (Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, John Rauch, Tamra Bonvillain, Marshall Dillon): When I first read the first few issues a million years ago I thought it was awesome, so I picked up all the available trade paperbacks, but these days I am more dubious about a comic set in Japan written by white guys. One of them lives in Japan, though, and the MC is new to Japan, so I guess that's okay? Anyway, teenagers are unexpectedly manifesting superpowers and the youkai are not best pleased at being replaced by new magic.

    Words: FAIL.

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    29 August 2019 - Thursday

    Made it home. Dead.


    Read:

    • Crossfire (Lindsay Buroker): Fourth book in the series. The ruthless space pirate is becoming more sympathetic, and one of the other ships might finally be lifting off (but not the main character and the princess he has a crush on, she's probably as evil as the rest of the royals anyway). Apparently in the future, security paradigms are not any better. Last book for now, but things are not even slightly resolved so I hope there are more.
    • Dragon Slippers (Jessica Day George): YA fantasy, a seamstress from the sticks meets some dragons, and adventure and commerce ensue. Does not follow the D&D3.5 rules for appropriate form factors for magic items.
    • Lost Pages of an Old Book (Carlos Marin Delgado): A noir detective gets mixed up in philosophy, AI, transhumanism, and conspiracy. Mostly philosophy.

    Words: FAIL.

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    28 August 2019 - Wednesday

    Again no Mike, so we ate tacos and played Eclipse Phase 2. I think I might kind of suck at this, since my character is completely unarmed and we just got ambushed by gangsters with bombs and guns.


    Read:

    • Mockingbird vol 2 (Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, Rachelle Rosenberg): A cruise ship convention is the ideal environment to be trapped in with a smart-ass superhero.
    • Hero Code (Lindsay Buroker): Next book in the space opera series, we find out why the roboticist's mysterious background is so mysterious, and also there seem to be some kind of feels going on with various appropriate or inappropriate pairings (all het, boo). The nature of the mysterious background makes the MC a lot like the MC of something I tried to write back in a day, but I never got beyond part of the first chapter and I can't write anyway, so whatever.
    • Sparrowhawk (Delilah S Dawson, Matias Basla, Rebecca Nalty): Biracial bastard girl in Victorian England gets tricked into going to Faerie. It does not go well for anyone. The last line is augh.

    Words: FAIL.

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    27 August 2019 - Tuesday

    The bus was super-late again today. I thought people would learn how to drive their kids to school, but no, they still suck. Maybe I need to get up earlier and just accept that car culture will always try to screw up public transit.


    Did I actually call it in Elementary? Or did we mishear someone calling him "sir"?


    Read:

    • Man-Eaters vol 2 (Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Rachelle Rosenberg, Joe Caramagna, Lia Miternique): Okay, something is definitely going on with this particular (incipient?) werepanther and her family, but apparently we have to wait for vol 3 to get more than hints!
    • Shockwave, Ship of Ruin (Lindsay Buroker): First two of a space opera series about a surprisingly non-hapless robotics professor, his autism-spectrum bacteriologist housemate, a bounty-hunting old lady, a killer catgirl who just wants to be loved, a knight who is also an underwear model, a murderous pirate, etc. Lots of witty banter and feels, but also lots of serious space opera action and politics and murder and doom. The planet the main viewpoint characters come from has a society that's too much like modern US, but the characters can have the tension between "home" and "these guys suck they don't even like our friend the genetically-engineered murder cutie".
    • Mockingbird vol 1 (Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Ibrahim Moustafa): Same writer as Man-Eaters and it shows. It entertains me, but it would probably be 34659% better if I actually knew Marvel stuff.

    Words: FAIL.

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    26 August 2019 - Monday

    Sleeping all of Sunday doesn't seem to have had delayed benefits either. Also the bus failed me again.


    The Princess and the Frog was pretty cute, and the blonde girl was actually a good friend to Tiana!


    Read:

    • O Maidens In Your Savage Season vol 3 (Mari Okada, Nao Emoto): No, short writer girl, don't do it! You can do better!
    • The Book of Mayhem, The Book of Lies (Melissa McShane): Next two in the series, our heroine deals with more threats to the magic bookstore including family, more factional infighting, perfectly reasonable rules against fraternization, and unknown enemies who are just beginning to be revealed.
    • Ran and the Gray World vol 4 (Aki Irie): A weird mix of Ran's school (or at least student) life, creepy spirit infestation, and impending end of the world!

    Words: FAIL.

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    25 August 2019 - Sunday

    Because I am tired all the time, I tried sleeping way way in and not doing it by hitting the snooze button ten thousand times, but even though I slept for like eleven hours and kept my brain inflator on the whole time, I did not feel energetic and alert when I got up. Also I had wasted most of the day being useless. Well, begin as you mean to go on, right?

    I did manage to go shopping a little, mostly for comics, and it turns out the first N-3 volumes of Astro City are quite hard to come by. Am I going to have to use Amazon? That would suck.


    Veronica Mars 1.3: Never take teenage boys along when you're doing anything important. Even if you have amazing driving powers.


    Words: FAIL.

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    24 August 2019 - Saturday

    I actually managed to get up and showered and everything before the cleaners, so I could go shopping early, even though I don't need to get back and be on call. Yay me, I guess.


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 173: What?! Two separate groups of Sailor Somethings running around!?
    • RWBY 3.6.5-3.7: Mostly backstory for the horrible thing involving Pyrrha.
    • AKB0048 8: Ayse pointed out that it's quite unusual for shoujo to have a leader not sacrifice all her dreams for her followers.
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 20-21: Hiro is really the master of the false dichotomy. I think we need an ancient Greek philosopher to smack him over the head. Or maybe just Hanajima to emit waves at him.

    Words: FAIL.

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    23 August 2019 - Friday

    I made it to Friday, but after Wednesday night and Thursday night, I am pretty lethargic. I did a work thing, but only one.

    I had no brain and Marith didn't make a decision, so we watched Elementary. They might be slipping genres. Also, isn't Mycroft supposed to be the smarter brother? His plan must be very subtle in that case.


    Read:

    • The Book of Secrets, The Book of Peril (Melissa McShane): First two of a series about a young woman who unexpectly inherits a magic bookshop and is roundly hated for it. She also has to deal with horrible monsters, factionalism among people who should be fighting the monsters, secrets, lack of documentation, and terrible guys.
    • Ms Marvel vol 10 (G Willow Wilson, Nico Leon, Ian Herring, et al): It's pretty sad when you can't even have a slumber party without supervillains showing up!

    Words: FAIL.

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    22 August 2019 - Thursday

    And this little piggie went snorb snorb snorb all the way home. And then had to hydrate and inject and dose the cat and eat dinner, which is nto like going to bed.


    Read:

    • Magic For Liars (Sarah Gailey): People have been talking about this on the Slack, so I finally bubbled it to the top of the list and read it, and it was quite good! Synopsis: A muggle PI has to investigate a murder at Hogwarts where her sister teaches, and feels ensue. So many feels, and also lies to hide the feels, and some magic, and more feels. I cannot write.
    • The Agony House (Cherie Priest, Tara O'Connor): YA about a haunted house in post-Katrina New Orleans and a mysterious comic book. Despite the actual serious threats to the characters, it doesn't feel very tense, and I'm not sure why. No romance.
    • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur vol 6 (Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain): Wait, who is what now? Did I miss some other Marvel series? Or did I just miss vol 4-5 of this one? I think it's the latter.

    Words: FAIL.

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    21 August 2019 - Wednesday

    Birthday barbecue for Ken! Also, because Mike is busy doing something like having a wedding anniversary, we played more href="https://rpggeek.com/rpg/43545/eclipse-phase-second-edition">Eclipse Phase. Apparently my character's past fork was not good at leaving notes, so I'm trying to do better this time. Also, robot bug flirtation! (I can't flirt at all.)


    Read:

    • Skeleton Key vol 3: Telling Tales, Skeleton Key vol 4: Cats And Dogs (Andi Watson): I mean, there's a lot to be said for hopping vampire hockey, but otherwise I feel I have evolved beyond this. Or maybe I'm used to comics that have evolved beyond this. Or maybe I just don't like the art style.
    • Sefira and Other Betrayals (John Langan): It's not Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror, but it has a lot of the same vibe, especially the title story and also "Bloom". Tentacles up!
    • The Lore of Prometheus (Graham Austin-King): The problem with any "human experience/faculty X is the key to magic" setting is that we should either be swimming in magic now with 7G+ humans on the planet, or it should never have happened in the past when there were hardly any humans.

    Words: FAIL.

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    20 August 2019 - Tuesday

    It's only Tuesday, and the bus has made me miss my train twice this week! I blame the tens of thousands of parents who have to each drive their child to school in a separate SUV, while texting.


    No brain. Watched more Elementary. They could have gone so much deeper into the wacky world of sovereign citizens. (Maybe they do in a later episode, we're not even through the second season.)


    Read:

    • Skeleton Key vol 2: The Celestial Calendar (Andi Watson): Not as good as I remembered it. I think after this readthrough of the series, I will send them to a good home.

    Words: FAIL.

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    19 August 2019 - Monday

    HAPPY HAPPY KEN-DAY!!


    Because no one had any brain, we watched Elementary instead of anything cool. Also I made a root beer float with salted caramel ice cream, because that's all I had. It was okay.


    Read:

    • Skyward (Brandon Sanderson): Possibly ties in to Sanderson's overarching cosmology, but I don't care. Teenage girl becomes a fighter pilot on a doomed planet despite her family's terrible history. Lots of banter and trash-talking, not much romance, many mysteries and revelations, Doomslug the Destroyer, M-Bot, people objecting to highly militarized society even when there's an external enemy. Also feelings.

    Words: FAIL.

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    18 August 2019 - Sunday

    Last year about this time I was all, "I'm gonna get a passport and then I can go to Worldcon in Dublin and see Kit and it will be great" and now I'm all, "Wait, it's Worldcon?" So uh maybe I kind of suck. A lot. I didn't even go to the Extinction Rebellion meeting with Dave, because I wasn't up to commuting another four hours on one day's notice, which is really pretty lame of me.


    On the advice of our pocket fronds, we tried watching Parks and Recreation. The pilot didn't grab us, so we skipped to the second season, which is supposed to be better, but meh. Marith thinks she may be off sitcoms for good, since she can't stand "humor" where people are ridiculed for not being cool.


    Read:


    Words: FAIL.

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    17 August 2019 - Saturday

    I guess it finally had to happen that being on-call required me to help customers, but bleah.

    I did manage to shop expediently and bring the makings for figs with goat cheese to Ayse and Ken's, though.


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 171-172: The left-overs from last season are now finally dealt with! We know it's for sure this time, because new adversaries are appearing in the previews!
    • RWBY 3.5-6: Yang! How could you?
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 18-19: Kisa! Ritchan-san!

    Read:

    • Komi Can't Communicate vol 2 (Tomohito Oda): More friends for Komi! Also social situations! But her friend group is getting large enough to have internal conflict, and she's only a fraction of the way to her goal. Poor Komi!

    Words: FAIL.

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    16 August 2019 - Friday

    Yay, I made it through another week! Although I still suck and can't do anything with computers. (Let's not even mention doing something productive with computers.)


    I don't remember how much Veronica Mars I've seen, but the second episode seems kind of familiar. Also it makes me want to guillotine all rich people, or maybe just all white people.


    Read:

    • Skeleton Key vol 1: Beyond the Threshold (Andi Watson): I started rereading this because I remembered as being good. But now I also remember the first volume was kind of meh.
    • Gunsmoke & Glamour (Hillary Monahan): A US Marshal with a sixth sense for magic falls in love with a faerie con artist even though he's supposed to arrest her as soon as she leaves some evidence he can't ignore, befriends a trans doctor and a ridiculously horny faerie, offends witches, and generally gets into trouble in a magical West. (Okay, more of a South.) Contains lots and lots of sex, and also doom.
    • Lucifer's Star (CT Phipps, Michael Suttkus): Grimdark space opera. Everyone named character, including the first-person protagonist, has the blood of innocents on their hands, everything they find out about what's going on shows the universe is a worse place than they thought, rampant betrayal, torture, etc.
    • Exhalation (Ted Chiang): I skipped reading "The Life Cycle of Software Objects" because I've read it and it gave me too many bad feels, but all the other stories in this collection were equally amazing. The gate! The parrots! The predictor! The prisms! The philosphy! The entropy! I Kermit flail!

    Words: FAIL.

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    15 August 2019 - Thursday

    Ugh, Thursday night commute. If anyone has a brilliant idea for overcoming this ("use a car" is not brilliant, and "nurture the gig economy" makes it the opposite of better), I'm open to suggestions.


    Read:

    • Treason of Hawks (Lila Bowen) wraps up the series about everyone's favorite trans multiracial monster-hunting were-vulture cowboy. Unfortunately, although the big threat of this book does link back to the first book and bad things Rhett did, the lack of references in the intermediate books makes the big reveal feel kind of flat, and I don't like the way some characters were killed off-screen.

    Words: FAIL.

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    14 August 2019 - Wednesday

    We successfully played the Home Team branch of Mike's 13G game, while eating the traditional Indian food of Brooks. This session, in addition to explaining a tiny bit of the decades of accumulated Glorantha lore to Kelsey, we chased a kite through an adjacent clan's tula with the power of bribery, and tried to avoid a fight with weird Lunar barbarians.


    Read:

    • Medusa in the Graveyard (Emily Devenport): The ship finally gets where it was going, the weird stuff from the end of Medusa Uploaded comes to fruition, Oichi must decide whether murdering everyone with a robot squid is the way she wants to live her life, and then things get trippy.

    Words: FAIL.

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    13 August 2019 - Tuesday

    Well, at least Tuesday isn't Monday. And I only actually have two meetings, one of them short and the other requiring no input from me (although other people asked the question I thought of, after I thought it, so I guess I could have contributed, but meh, no one wants to hear from me).


    No watching, I am trying to be useful this evening (and not succeeding).


    Read:

    • Man-Eaters vol 1 (Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Rachelle Rosenberg, Joe Caramagna, Lia Miternique): Menarche has a small chance of turning a girl into a ravening were-panther. Femininity gets an even worse image, the Establishment dopes the drinking water with birth control pills to prevent menstruation (opening a vast market for Manly Water, and in fact Manly Everything, No Girls Allowed), everyone lives in fear. We see a lot of in-world propaganda informational materials, which is a great way to do tonal world-building.
    • The Citadel of Weeping Tears (Aliette de Bodard): Space opera with the empire based on Vietnamese culture instead of Roman. Feels a little bit like Yoon-Ha Lee's "Hexarchate" series but definitely different, less sharp-edged.
    • On A Red Station, Drifting (Aliette de Bodard): Backstory of one of the secondary characters from The Citadel of Weeping Tears, showing the less glittery parts of the empire.
    • Dept.H vol 1 (Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt): Murder and mystery and family drama on a deep submarine station, with weird art that doesn't do it for me.

    Words: FAIL.

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    12 August 2019 - Monday

    The train was randomly late, but today was not too busy.


    The Internet made Marith want to see Veronica Mars, so we watched the first episode. Compost the rich. Also, compost men.


    Read:

    • Giant Days vol 7-8 (John Allison, Max Sarin, Whitney Cogar, Liz Fleming): Christmas! Susan's family (which explains so much)! McGraw, how could you?!
    • The Raptor & The Wren and Vultures (Chuck Wendig): Last two books of the "Miriam Black" series which is about birds and death and extremely poor life choices and cussing. As far as I can tell from my dim memories of the previous four books, all the plot threads do come together and tie up in a gigantic knot of doom, which Miriam handles with cussing and wanton violence.
    • The Promised Neverland vol 11 (Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu): Eh, that wasn't a very cunning plan, even if it does move the characters another step toward their ultimate goal.

    Words: FAIL.

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    11 August 2019 - Sunday

    After missing two fortnightly sessions, we once again gathered (minus Deirdre, but with Edie who is back from camp) to play Sentinel Comics RPG! We are on the fifth issue (last of the three unordered ones) from the starter kit and Dave is still managing to beat them into shape. I don't want to spoil a published adventure, but what this issue promised, it delivered on! Even if Dave had to nerf it to keep us all from being killed.

    I figured out what was going on right away, but none of us could roll better then double 1s to persuade the NPC, so it didn't matter. Sheesh.

    Everyone is having fun, so we plan to make our own characters and force Dave to run original material once we finish the starter kit. Apparently we need to read Astro City...


    I had no brain because it is too hot, so we just watched some Elementary. Sadly, I don't think they're exaggerating about the pettiness of what people will murder over.


    Words: FAIL.

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    10 August 2019 - Saturday

    I have my Saturdays all worked out, but today was a mess because Aspen's vet appointment was right in the middle of shopping time. We did get her taken in and ultrasounded and sampled and admired, though, and I rushed through shopping and got home in good time to be on call all afternoon.

    I did not have to do anything while on call, so I was useless and didn't even manage to do laundry correctly, and we were late getting to Ayse and Ken's for chicken chile verde.


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 169-170: Mirrored doom finally abducts Mamoru, with predictable effects on his future offspring!
    • RWBY 3.4: Coco and whatsisface get defeated in the tournament by the Evils.
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 16-17: Uotani's troubled past and new fangirl.

    Words: FAIL.

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    9 August 2019 - Friday

    Yay I made it to Friday!


    This season of She-Ra only has six episodes (so it should really be like 2b), but the last two go harder than we expected from a kids' show! I hope they are not too much for Jus.


    Read:

    • Wicked Saints (Emily A Duncan): Very goth. Divine mages vs maltheistic blood mages, only the entire magic system is probably built on a lie (to be explained in later books). Love and betrayal and hot evil boys.
    • Reticence (Gail Carriger): Fourth and probably last in the trilogy about the new generation. Final major character who didn't have a squeeze gets paired off, and new supernaturals get discovered.
    • The Haunting of Tram Car 015 (P Djeli Clark): Hey, it's more in the world of A Dead Djinn in Cairo! The snappy dresser is only a bit character in this one, but multi-ethnic cross-dressing nerd victory!
    • Saga vol 4-9 (Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughan): Not the end, but the comic is on hiatus for at least one year from last August, so who knows when there will be more? Hopefully if there is, there will be some thematic development, because it's getting to be just more and more of the same doom. My current theory is that every named character except Hazel is going to end up dead.

    Words: FAIL.

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    8 August 2019 - Thursday

    Thursday stuck at work forever, but I accomplished a few things and didn't actually die. Much.


    Read:

    • The Private Life of Elder Things (Adrian Tchaikovsky, Keris McDonald, Adam Gauntlett): Stories about assorted creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos. Very canon in the monsters, but it gives a little tiny bit of insight into their thinking. Lose 1d10 SAN.
    • Alien: Echo (Mira Grant): It's got all the important Alien bits: xenomorphs, colony planet, acid blood, ovipositors, idiots who don't believe in the threat. Also queer female protagonist!

    Words: FAIL.

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    7 August 2019 - Wednesday

    Aspen's kidney numbers are not great. I need to take her in again on Saturday for ultrasounding and more blood and urine draws.


    After the kerfuffle about D&D5, we have returned to Mike's 13th Age Glorantha game, and spent the session making up characters for the home team. I think I will be an Orlanthi ninja, because that's not ridiculous. Anyway, Mike started it when he offered the chance for our tribe's history to include "hid in No Wind during the time of darkness". Also Thai food.


    Read:

    • The Moon Etherium (L Rowyn): Post-scarcity fantasy, conspiracy and magical intrigue and romance and invstigation.
    • Terminal Uprising (Jim C Hines): Sequel to Terminal Alliance, heroic ex-zombie janitors continue to investigate the aliens who are saving humanity from the zombie apocalypse, and continue to find out disturbing things.
    • Saga vol 3 (Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples): Finished rereading what I had read before. Yep, that's the sex and violence and doom I remember!

    Words: FAIL.

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    6 August 2019 - Tuesday

    Today everything was thrown off and I was completely useless because I had to work from home so we could take Aspen to the vet at noon. Bah.

    But Aspen was such a good kitty even though she got poked and prodded and cruelly oppressed! She even had some urine in her bladder so the doctor could get a sample! I don't think it was because she was too unwell to resist, because while I had her wrapped into a purrito and we were waiting for the terribly understaffed vet techs to come back, she was craning her head around and looking out the window to see what was happening in the hall and stuff. But she needs to be a good kitty who eats more.

    Anyway, probably her kidneys are old, but we will have to wait for the test results. In the meantime, subcutaneous fluids every evening.


    More She-Ra! Entrapta is still working for Hordak, that is sure to go well.


    Words: FAIL.

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    5 August 2019 - Monday

    Hey, there's a new season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power! First two episodes, new ship!


    Read:

    • The Affair of the Mysterious Letter (Alexis Hall) is part genderbent Sherlock Holmes pastiche, part Cthulhu pastiche, and all New Weird. The consulting sorceress Sheherazad Haas is kind of over-the-top, but maybe I'm just not remembering original Holmes well enough. Her housemate/partner/straight man John Wyndham is a good barometer for what is normal, so we can see just how crazed SH is. He may spend too much time apologizing for her foul mouth, though. Six tentacles up!

    Words: FAIL.

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    4 August 2019 - Sunday

    So useless! More useless than that!

    So useless I watched two episodes of Elementary! (Okay, Marith helped.) The return of Lestrade. Also, chickens.


    Read:

    • Satan's Secretary vol 1 (Kamotsu Kamonabe): Meh. Demon Lord (JRPG style, not the Christian Satan) kidnaps a terrifyingly efficient human secretary, and workplace reform ensues.
    • Skyward vol 1-2 (Joe Henderson, Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela, Simon Bowland): The premise is that one day, "Earth's gravity drops to a fraction of its former strength", which certainly is cinematic and allows for exciting microgravity action scenes, and is an obvious hook for a plot, but I can't help recognizing that absolutely nothing works that way.
    • Our Dreams at Dusk vol 2 (Yuhki Kamatani): More issues of gender and identity, with a maybe-trans kid. Main character's gay crush may be noticing him back, but no idea whether that's good or bad. No one knows what's up with Someone-san.

    Words: FAIL.

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    3 August 2019 - Saturday

    Why is it so hot? I didn't order this!


    Nigh-weekly anime:

    • Sailor Moon Stars 168:
    • RWBY 3.2-3: First appearance of Qrow, which makes it Marith's favorite episode.
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 14-15: Visiting a grave, then visiting a lake house. Momiji's tragic backstory.

    Read:

    • Tomo-chan is a Girl vol 4 (Fumita Yanagida): He's definitely seeing her as a girl now, if not as a romantic prospect.

    Words: FAIL.

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    2 August 2019 - Friday

    Yay Friday! Boo capitalism!

    The internet told Marith that Megamind is good, so we watched it, and it actually is! I was worried when it got to the bit about the romantically-frustrated white guy, but it worked out!

    Also I did laundry, and then extra laundry because Aspen is not good at using the litter box. Good thing she's going to the vet on Tuesday!


    Read:

    • Giant Days: Early Registration (John Allison): At the beginning of the series, Esther and Daisy and Susan all know each other and have some backstory. The references are enough, so in some sense this volume didn't need to exist, but it's always good to see them being wacky.
    • Ancestral Night (Elizabeth Bear): Space opera about socialism and mental health, or at least involving socialism and mental health during the downtime in the space chases and star whale encounters. Also pretty good "everyone is a cyborg now".
    • They Promised Me The Gun Wasn't Loaded (James Alan Gardner): Sequel to All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault, and with a different member of the team as first-person narrator. I'm really dubious about the Watsonian explanation for superhero tropes, but hopefully it will tie into some overarcing plot. (Since there are four superheroines on the team, there must be two more books.)
    • Saga vol 1 (Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples): Reread, so I can read the new volumes. Wow, I forgot how much language, sex, nudity, and violence there is. Also, it looks like racism and war might possibly be less than ideal.

    Words: FAIL.

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    1 August 2019 - Thursday

    Ugh, late work night. Thursday coming right after Wednesday is a pain, but at least it makes Friday even happier? Tonight I had leftover Ethiopian, because I actually managed to take lefotvers home and eat them!


    Read:

    • Giant Days vol 6 (John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming): Oh no, I am almost out! Will I ever learn whether Esther defeats Ingrid in an iron cage death match?
    • The Merciful Crow (Margaret Owen): It's American racism (down to being hunted by white-robed assholes with torches) but in a fantasy land with a completely different reasons and also mammoth riders. Certainly it shows that racism is garbage, but I don't know if it shows it more than another approach would.
    • Because Internet (Gretchen Mcculloch): No, communication in the internet age is not degenerate, it is a amazing and creative and emojis fill the role of gesture and punctuation and capitalization fill in for tone of voice because we are now so literate that writing is as common and informal and nuanced as speech! Get back on my lawn!

    Words: FAIL.

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    31 July 2019 - Wednesday

    We did more of Kelsey's D&D5 game, completing two whole rounds of combat. There's nothing wrong with Kelsey's GMing style, D&D is just that awful. I think Ken is joining me in this belief. But at least we had Ethiopian food!


    Read:

    • Honor Bound (Rachel Caine, Ann Aguirre): Sequel to Honor Among Thieves, but now that the main character knows what the hell is going on, she can get to kicking the ass that needs kicking. It's like Joyride in being an Earth criminal girl having adventures in space, but so much better because the main character is not an idiot. Also, space whales and potential poly.
    • Minor Mage (T Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon): Apparently editors don't think this is a kid's book, even though it's about a twelve-year-old wizard and his armadillo familiar saving everyone, just because there are angry mobs and ghouls and serial killers. Weird.
    • The Ascent to Godhood (JY Yang): 4th book of the "Tensorate" series, mostly fills in backstory rather than adding to the strangeness of the world.
    • A Dead Djinn in Cairo (P Djeli Clark): Steampunk with decadent djinn, deranged angels, and policewomen in snazzy suits. I would read more in this universe.
    • Giant Days vol 4-5 (John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming): Still adorable! Go Daisy!

    Words: FAIL.

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    30 July 2019 - Tuesday

    I feel like I am doing useful stuff at work, and no one has said otherwise, but I should be doing more.


    Why does Sherlock get so much action in Elementary and Watson hardly any? Bah!


    Read:

    • Outlaws and Aliens (James L Cambias): Two stories involving crime and aliens, not otherwise related. Being a criminal is not safe, it turns out.
    • Six Sacred Swords (Andrew Rowe): Spinoff from Sufficiently Advanced Magic and On The Shoulders of Titans, where one of the secondary characters tells his backstory to the main character and friends. The teller is not terrible, and the magic sword and the dragon are adorable.
    • The 5th Gender (GL Carriger): Alien-human gay(ish) romance and murder mystery, with much exposition of the alien gender system and also seriously NSFW gay sex.
    • Giant Days vol 2-3 (John Allison, Lissa Treiman, Max Sarin, Whitney Cogar): Still adorable and hilarious! Now I have reread everything I read before, so I can move on to the new material!

    Words: FAIL.

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    29 July 2019 - Monday

    There was a company all-hands in the morning, but it was not announcing the dissolution of the the company. In fact, even if you take into account execs being paid to make things sound good, things sound fairly good.


    No, Elementary, that's not how paleontology works.


    Read:

    • Black Bolt vol 2 (Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward): It's never as easy as just escaping Inescapable Space Prison! But getting to Earth at least gets Boltagar Blackagon some new allies to finish dealing with the problem. Apparently the end of the series, since Blinky (who is Best) is going off to have her own adventure.
    • A Year and a Day in Old Theradane (Scott Lynch): Magical heist, much higher-magic and less gritty than the "Gentleman Bastards" book. The city ruled by crazy wizards reminds me of Glen Cook's "Garrett" books a little.
    • The Tower of Zhall (CT Phipps): Sequel to Cthulhu Armageddon. Is there ever a good reason to summon Cthulhu? Or even make deals with shoggoths? Maybe, if the world has already been destroyed. But it needed more Jackie.
    • Cthulhu Kaiju (Ahimsa Kerp): Cthulhu eats Portland (and the rest of Oregon). But it has Derleth's Elder Gods, so it is a failure as a Mythos story.
    • Giant Days vol 1 (John Allison, Lissa Treiman, Whitney Cogar): Still funny and adorable!

    Words: FAIL.

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    28 July 2019 - Sunday

    Gaming was cancelled, so I did nothing today. I mean, I kind of went shopping, but mostly I just sat around going blblblblblblblbl.


    Wow, I thought Elementary would draw that plotline out further, but nope, done after just a couple of episodes.


    Read:

    • Gleipnir vol 3 (Sun Takeda): I understand that one of the themes is that everyone does awful things, but that does not excuse perpetrating the Predatory Lesbian trope. Bah. But there are several ways this could go after the final scene, most of them horrific.

    Words: FAIL.

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    27 July 2019 - Saturday

    I was on call from 13:30 to 19:30, but nothing was on fire, yay!


    Nigh-Weekly Anime:


    Read:

    • Yuri Bear Storm vol 3 (Ikunigomakinako, Akiko Morishima): The problem with having the sins of the previous generation repeat with the new generation who not only look like their moms did at that age but dress and look similar, is that I get very confused. But I think it worked out in the end, even if no one said the word "polyamory"? It looks like the anime might cover more? Maybe we should try it.

    Words: FAIL.

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    26 July 2019 - Friday

    I could not watch this episode of Elementary without picturing the "Search Terms: elementary moriarty watson" results count whirring upward.


    Read:

    • Girl Underground is the superset of Alice of Wonderland, Labyrinth, Summer in Orcus, and all other books where a young girl finds herself in a bizarre magical land and must fix what is broken while learning about herself. Unlike other games, where princesses can be boys, the Girl has to start off as a girl; it is very much about gender, and what girls are not allowed to do, and doing it anyway. Because this is what the game is about, everyone plays the Girl, usually a different person in each scene, and everyone else (except the GM) plays the companions. PbtA, so pretty much all the non-GM rules are in the playbooks.
    • Black Bolt vol 1 (Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward) clearly follows from a bunch of other comics that brought the title character to this point, but that didn't hamper my enjoyment because it was obvious what was going on now (in the space slammer? break out!), and the main character's interior monologues explained everything I needed to know. The art was not exactly to my taste, but it was very effective, and Black Bolt's facial expressions are great, so I give it a tentacle up.

    Words: FAIL.

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    25 July 2019 - Thursday

    I was even later getting out of work than usual for a Thursday, because the person I had to hand over to was late getting in, but it didn't make any difference to the time I got home. It always converges on that last leg from Diridon to home.


    Read:

    • Dead City, Blue Moon, and Dark Days (James Ponti): Cute trilogy about a middle-school zombie slayer in NYC. The zombies are not actually explained, but they have (New York-specific) backstory and limitations so that it seems like they have an explanation that hasn't been discovered yet. There is no romance at all for the main character, although a couple of the secondary characters might be going out between the lines.
    • The Orphans of Raspay (Lois McMaster Bujold): Another adventure of Penric (who is older yet somehow hotter) and his best demon (who is still snarky). It's always fun to watch Penric be terrifying, but it doesn't seem like this story added much to his character arc.
    • Destroyer (Victor LaValle, Dietrich SMith, Joana Lafuente): Frankenstein × black ops × black lives matter. Do not mess with someone who has been sitting on an iceberg for 300 years.
    • Joyride vol 1 (Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Marcus To, Irma Kniivila): Like Astrid, this has some good bits, and a comic about humans hijacking a spaceship and running around the galaxy should be fun, but it has too many SF tropes thrown in a pile without being connected at all. Also the main character is like the "Chaotic Neutral" D&D character that everyone hates and wants to kick out of the game. The others have some personality, though.

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    24 July 2019 - Wednesday

    Randomly, I ran into Cesar on the train in the morning! I tried to make small talk, but am terrible at it. He seems to be doing well, anyway, although he kind of looks like an ex-biker.


    Everyone made it to gaming, so we had D&D5 to go with our pizza! Kelsey's hand-drawn maps are pretty sweet, although it would have been better if they had been deployed earlier, but as usual an hour of our 90 minute gaming time was taken up with rules minutiae that added nothing to the gaming experience for me.


    Read:

    • Angel's Sigil (L Rowyn): Sequel to Demon's Lure, in which our hapless heroine is tried for capital crimes and also doom comes to demonkind.
    • Astrid: Cult of the Volcanic Moon (Kim W Anderson): There's a difference between not sweating the details and going out of your way to make all the details bogus. But realizing the system doesn't deserve your devotion is important.

    Words: FAIL.

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    23 July 2019 - Tuesday

    Since we're out of The Umbrella Academy, we had to watch Elementary. Wow, Sherlock was almost like a functional human being there!


    Read:

    • Sentinel Comics beta rules and character creation chapters. The rules are pretty much the same as in the starter kit, although the list of possible twists would be very helpful if an idiot like me were running. The character creation rules probably will not make Jeremy or Dave happy, because they are not at all about building a unit for a tactical wargame and then adding a story. I don't know what I think about them, but they seem like they should work within the paradigm of the game.
    • Trees vol 1-2 (Warren Ellis, Jason Howard): I had forgotten almost all of this. Wow, they're so doomed. I wonder if volume 3 will ever come out?

    Words: FAIL.

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    22 July 2019 - Monday

    Boo, Monday. Boo, capitalism. Boo, bus not showing up. Boo, train being late.


    Finale of The Umbrella Academy! We called the general form of the doom ages ago, but I was not expecting the specifics, nor that kind of ending. I hear a second season is planned, but it would be kind of cool if they just left it there.


    Read:

    • "Cthulhu Attacks!", book 1 (The Fear) and book 2 (The Faith) (Sean Hoade, Byron Craft): "What if I wrote a book where encyclopedic knowledge of Lovecraft's work was actually a useful skill?" But apparently the first author's brain fell over dead partway into the second book and someone else had to finish it, so the ending is wrong.
    • Cthulhu Armageddon (CT Phipps): Post-apocalypse where the apocalypse was the Great Old Ones. Planet is a mess, humans survive only in small groups, cultists and mutants everywhere, one strong but flawed man has to save his people, you know the genre.
    • Paper Girls vol 5 (Brian K Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Jared K Fletcher): [SPOILER] changed her mind awfully faster there, but to be fair, [SPOILER] was pretty impressive. Plus it made the cliffhanger ending even more upsetting. But now I have to wait for volume 6 to be released!
    • Plutona (Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, Jordie Bellaire): Wow, that was seriously messed up. Especially for middle-schoolers. But it seemed emotionally plausible.

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    21 July 2019 - Sunday

    I did managed to go shopping, but was only vaguely successful because I am as stupid as I am ugly.


    But I'm not as doomed as the characters in The Umbrella Academy!


    Read:

    • Flying Witch vol 7 (Chihiro Ishizuka): Still adorable, and I'm not just saying that because this is the hot springs episode.
    • Made in Abyss vol 6 (Akihito Tsukushi): Not as much fucked-up body horror as last volume, but while the adventurers are in Philosophy Dungeon, things are looking bad for everyone else everywhere.
    • Prism Stalker vol 1 (Sloane Leong): On one level, a girl gets drafted for a prestige assignment on a distant planet of the biotech-based multispecies empire; on another, colonialism inevitably destroys the culture of the colonized, leaving them adrift in society. Lots of aliens and also mysteries.

    Words: FAIL.

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    20 July 2019 - Saturday

    Yikes, someone burned down the office of the studio that made Hibike! Euphonium! What the fuck, other countries, can't you be less horrible than the US?


    • Sailor Moon Super S 164-165: Just because it's not all punching doesn't mean there isn't a final conflict that takes multiple episodes!
    • RWBY 2.12: Victory! End of the season!
    • AKB0048 6: That really does seem like a very Japanese-girl way to conceptualize haters. Well, SF is always about the present, right?
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 11-12: Augh! Akito! The only person who can make Tohru be physically violent!

    Little Miss P (Ken Koyama) is about the visitor who shows up every month or so to punch women in the groin (and sometimes extract a bunch of blood, or just beat the snot out of them), and women who are trying to live their lives when this happens, and also the people who brought modern feminine hygeine products to Japan in the 60s. Do I feel that am more able to write female characters now? Eh, maybe.


    Words: FAIL.

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    19 July 2019 - Friday

    Antepenultimate Umbrella Academy, yikes! Hargreaves did it wrong and stupidly, as usual, but I see why he did that.


    Motor Crush (Babs Tarr, Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart) is about the best motorcycle racer around, a performance-enhancing drug for engines, illegal gladiatorial races, the drug trade, mysterious backgrounds, mysterious mysteries, and very pretty girls in small bits of spandex. Alas, it seems to have stopped coming out just after the second collection, so we may never find out what the hell is really going on.

    Five Unicorn Crush (TJ Berry) is the sequel to Space Unicorn Blues and follows on pretty directly from the end of it, showing that the Big Event did not actually solve much of anything in the face of determined sophonts, which might have been the point.

    The prose of Here There Be Monsters (Tim Curran) is even more purple than Lovecraft, and the main characters have better odds of surviving intact, but most of the stories are very pastichey (it's a word now!), and at least one is a direct sequel to a Lovecraft story. So, I guess, if you needed more Lovecraft than actually exists, this would be your book? I prefer new takes on the Mythos, but these are at least competently done, kind of.


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    18 July 2019 - Thursday

    I guess I am getting used to this late night commute of doom, but that doesn't mean I like it.


    Volume 2 of Pretty Deadly (Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire, Clayton Cowles) skips ahead to WWI, but it's still about Death and her servants and human family and people dying all over the place as mortals do. I'm not sure it's entirely my thing, but I can admire how well it is done.

    Space Unicorn Blues (TJ Berry) is about, well, space unicorns (and dryads and elves and whatnot) and the horrible things humans do when they find out what magical creature parts are good for, despite having just been told to play nice. As SF, it's not entirely coherent, but the protagonists are a well-done miscellaneous lot of non-heroes (lots of representation), and the human fascists are unpleasantly topical.


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    17 July 2019 - Wednesday

    Unprecedentedly, we had everyone at gaming, so we had some D&D5 to go with our Chinese food. Sadly, Kelsey forgot the hand-drawn artisanal maps she made for us.

    Next time we play, we might actually meet the villain!


    Today's OSR reading: Teratoscope. Carnivorous colleges! Tribal champions that take on the forms and powers of distant dimensional cognates to battle over the shape history will have! Voice-stealing dragons! Several varieties of ogre that have no arms but get things done with their voices! The Hunting Hand! Mountains of alien meat that fall from the sky! Orca-were capitalists! Things from the haunted forest so dangerous it had to be imprisoned in paintings locked in an impenetrable vault! Alarming hints that Hell might be empty now! Like the best OSR monster books, it is also a world book, and I want to know more about this world. Although not too much, because Dungeon World.

    Dangerous to Go Alone is in a genre of video games I haven't played, Legend of Zelda, so I probably don't appreciate it fully, but it is very simple and very cute. The GM is called the Princess, pretty much your only stat is how many hearts you have (which get filled up with emotions or tiredness and then you have to rest, or filled up with hurt and then you reappear at the last hearth where you felt safe and comfortable), combat involves rolling papercraft dice at each other, character creation involves writing down three things that people would expect of your race and profession and then crossing out one and writing in how you aren't like that at all. I am not the target player, but I think people who are would be pleased?


    Words: FAIL.

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    16 July 2019 - Tuesday

    HAPPY HAPPY AVALON-DAY!!!

    I even got to see her tonight, because Tuesday is a good night for that. Hurray Avalon!

    Only nineteen years until it's not creepy for me to be dating her.


    I missed more transit connections than my commute is even supposed to have, bah.


    Super Destiny High School Rumble is basically TfOS powered by the Apocalypse. Not exactly, it draws more from Sailor Moon and other recent anime than from Urusai Yatsura, and there isn't any metaplot provided to explain why aliens and magical girls are at this high school, so the energy isn't quite the same, but I think it could be good.

    The Lesser Key to the Celestial Legion is tables to randomly generate gods and rites and angels, nominally for DCC but easily transferable to other OSR games, if you care enough. Meh.

    Also nominally DCC, but with more tentacle gods in the form of orbital death satellites and elevator-based spells and general weirdness: Terror of the Stratosfiend vol 1 vol 1.5.

    Dust Bowl Galaxy says it's space western, but I don't really see how, except that cattle are mentioned as a possible cargo for the PCs' ship that they build out of modules using a card-based system to explore the war-ravaged galaxy beyond their tiny refugee colony. Also card-based: ship combat, personal gadgets, and the many terrible things that can happen if you use the psionic powers that vatches higher-dimensional beings are happy to grant you. Inventing new aliens does not require cards!

    I picked up Paper Girls (Brian K Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Jared K Fletcher) because someone on the Internet said it was awesome, and it actually is! Middle school girls from 1988, through time and space! Bonus points for giant azhdarchids, further bonus points for tardigrades. Sadly it looks like there are only three more volumes before it finishes, even though I want to keep reading it forever.


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    15 July 2019 - Monday

    Wait, work, what? Can't I have another Sunday? Okay, it's not like I did a great job with the last one, but this time for sure!


    Tonight's episode of The Umbrella Academy was the natural other half of yesterday's episode, and also removes a lot of any sympathy I might have had for Chacha. Also, is that really what young people do at parties these days?


    Pretty Deadly (Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire, Clayton Cowles) is definitely mythic or fairytale Western. I mean, Death is a character, and falls in love with a human woman. It's pretty much all downhill from there for most of the characters, because Western.


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    14 July 2019 - Sunday

    Today I was completely useless! I wanted to go shopping, but was too lazy and stupid and only managed to lie around the apartment all day going blblblblblblblbl. Also Avalon cancelled date, but it was because she's not feeling well, not for the much more sensible reason that I suck.

    In the evening, Marith and I watched more of The Umbrella Academy. We are more than half done, and up to the episode that every show with time travel should have.


    Finally I got Empowered (Adam Warren) volume 10, but it was not as satisfying as other recent volumes, more like vol 1-2 where it was just vignettes from the life of Empowered. Until the cliff-hanger ending, at least!

    Also I have finally read volume 3 of Kill Six Billion Demons (Tom Parkinson-Morgan), after starting and realizing I had no idea how Allison and Cio got to where they were and having to reread the first two volumes. It's okay, no one was really using that multiverse anyway. But go Allison! And go Cio!


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    13 July 2019 - Saturday

    Riding the bus to shopping is a lot less sweaty than walking, but not as healthy.


    • Sailor Moon Super S 163: Trapped in a mirror labyrinth! But what are the Amazoness Quartet up to?
    • RWBY 2.10-11: You can't have an fighting show without a fight on a train. It's just the rules, sorry.
    • AKB0048 5: Apparently Akibastar is not Fully Automated Luxury Queer Space Communism after all! But they do have Pheromones.
    • Fruits Basket (2019) 9-10: Haruhatsu! And Valentine's Day, but mostly Haruhatsu.

    I read volume 2 of We Never Learn (Taishi Tsutsui). I think that was funny fanservice instead of terrible fanservice, but is any fanservice actually not terrible?


    Words: FAIL.

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    12 July 2019 - Friday

    Friday always seems hard after Thursday, but I survived another week!


    The Orchid Gown (Mason Frey) is a collection of dark fantasy stories that are atmospheric but don't quite end. It's not "Lady or the Tiger", it's more "Here are two doors, there's probably something behind at least one of them". When it's not Prime Boycott Day, I should see if the author has any longer works.

    But mostly today I went through the 300-odd Kindle samples I have, deleting a bunch of them and putitng some of them into my wishlist for later.

    In additional Kindle news, I managed to download 200 books at a time to my local compute for Calibreation, which wasn't too bad. It only took like 15 batches.


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    11 July 2019 - Thursday

    Stayed late at work again. I really want to find a better way to get home, but transit doesn't seem to do it, and I am pretty sure I don't think Uber or Lyft should exist. Blurgh.


    Beings From Beyond is nominally for D&D5, but it's pretty old-school, tables to randomly generate devils and their biomechanical minions and their giant war machines, demons and the horrific mutations they induce, incandescents (angels of GOOD + CHAOS) and their beautiful abstract forms and fundamental powers, or incarnates (GOOD + LAW) of any concept, plus assorted other creatures from the planes. You want a lion with a glowing pyramid for a head who freezes evildoers in time? A radially asymmetric eel demon with a voice that makes your ears bleed? A creature of living sound in powered armor? This book has you covered.

    Forgotten, Forsaken, and Unforgiven (MR Forbes) are a trilogy that starts off with the head cop on a failing generation ship and then changes genre with every book. Pretty much everyone dies, especially characters who don't deserve it. Earth Unknown starts another trilogy in which the survivors of the first trilogy are secondary characters or even antagonists, but I had had enough by that point.

    Empowered Unchained vol 1 (Adam Warren, et al) is a collection of all the specials that are not otherwise collected. It turns out I have read them all before, but now they can sit on my bookshelf taking up space in the physical world&emdash; I think I may be doing something wrong. But I liked Empowered anyway.

    I generally like Seanan McGuire, so I got Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider vol 1 (Seanan McGuire, Rosi Ka:mpe, Takeshi Miyazama), but apparently I need to have read at least two complete series to know what the heck is going on, because mainstream comics.


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    10 July 2019 - Wednesday

    Kelsey cancelled at the last minute again, so Mike ran more of the Heroquest we are going through in 13G. Mike likes to play things out in fine detail, so this is taking forever. (I think he really should be writing for video games.) Also Indian food. Ken never orders, so Brooks has been getting him the same thing for like six months.


    Books where magic and/or gods return to a major city and everything is terrible and the hero has to save people from magical threats are a dime a dozen when set in the US or UK, but I hadn't seen one set in Lagos, Nigeria, before David Mogo Godhunter (Suyi Davis Okungbowa). I'm sure I missed a lot of the depth, since I know almost nothing about Nigerian religions or magic systems, but that was definitely a hero who struggled.

    I was sad to see that The Unstoppable Wasp was over after only two thin collections, but I guess people with money and power were also sad, because now there is The Unstoppable Wasp: Unlimited vol 1 (Jeremy Whitley, Gurihiru)! (I think there may have been some stuff in other titles in between, because mainstream comics, but whatever.) Supervillains! Tiny gay disasters (which apparently is a level up from Snappy Dresser)! Mental health representation! The power of Friendship and Science!


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    9 July 2019 - Tuesday

    Avalon is still alive, even though her Internet boyfriend is not great.


    In a lot of ways, Wicked Fox (Kat Cho) is like a vampire novel (woe, I must feed upon humans!), but the Korean flavor makes it interesting. (I'm not sure I would be able to tell that Korean is in the same language family as Japanese if I didn't know.)

    In the Shadow of Spindrift House (Mira Grant) is short and doomed and shows why no one should ever go near the Atlantic coast ever.

    In volume 3 of Monstress (Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda), the threatened war is definitely revving up, and also we get to see more of Maika's predecessor's works, and why the Cumaea are so horrible. I'm really not sure about [SPOILER] getting more of a speaking part, though. But oh the doom!


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    8 July 2019 - Monday

    Oh no, I left my iPad at home! I had to do work when I was at work! And on the commute, I had to read the second volume of Monstress (Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda)! It is just as doomed as the first, of course. I am now more interested in looking up the writer's prose work, although it wouldn't be the same without the art.


    The Umbrella Academy is still not explaining how Luther got to the Moon, but Klaus is showing that all aspects have a positive side. Diego is still a butt, but I do feel sorry for him.


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    7 July 2019 - Sunday

    Since yesterday was a bust, I had to go shopping this morning, and Sunday is the worst shopping day. Sure enough, I had to wait 55 minutes for a bus.

    I was on call from 13:30 to 19:30 again, but nothing happened, including brain activity. I tried to catch up on El Goonish Shive, but didn't make it very far because reading requires concentration.


    In episode 3 of The Umbrella Academy we learn more about Five's adventure and the hunters. And doom. So much doom.


    Salvation (Peter F Hamilton) is very Hamilton, with corporate intrigue and interstellar travel not really used for the betterment of humanity but the aliens are suitably obnoxious and the far-future bits are interesting even if I really doubt the utility of bringing back genders


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    6 July 2019 - Saturday

    I was hoping to leave at a reasonable time in the morning so there would be some Saturday left after getting home. But at the reasonable time, Ken wanted to start Terraforming Mars, and Dave didn't want to leave until after everyone else so that when they inevitably realized they had forgotten something he could bring it, and then finally I lost TM (tied for last with Al, but Robert won even though he had never played before, because I suck completely) and people started to leave, but it was already so late I couldn't complain when Sherilyn sent Al to Target to buy Codenames and then the car key was someplace too safe for Dave to find it. We didn't even leave Roseville until 15:30, and then there was traffic, so there really was not much left of the day by the time I got home.

    It was very kind of Dave to drive, but maybe I should just take the train next time. If I can decide what I'm doing more then a day in advance.


    The second episode of The Umbrella Academy is not any less strange or doomed than the first one!


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    5 July 2019 - Friday

    HAPPY HAPPY JOSH DAY!!

    Now Josh is eighteen, and will be going off to college in the fall, and has to be a grownup and stuff, but I am pretty sure he will vote the right way.


    Because Ken will always push for board games over roleplaying games, this was a board game day. First we played Caverna, and I somehow managed to come in second, with almost 2/3 of Ken's score. Then, after a break for swimming and going to the gaming store (I bought the first Die collection for Ayse because she only had Carl's borrowed individual issues) we played Ken's shiny new copy of Terraforming Mars. I came in dead last, because I suck at all board games.

    After Ken went to bed, Dave and I played Codenames with Al and Sherilyn, and Al turned out to be surprisingly good at giving clues. Since this is a cooperative game, it doesn't matter that I suck!


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    4 July 2019 - Thursday

    Because I can't get a real job (although at least I get paid ridiculously for being in support), I had to be on call all this afternoon right up until we took off to see fireworks, but nothing happened.

    I didn't actually do anything today, except try to play one game of 6-player Super Nintendo Every Character Melee Brawl, or whatever it's called. Since I don't know how to play video games at all, this went even more poorly than I expected. (Also it turned out later I received the wrong instructions for attacking.) But it's a vacation! Ish.

    We made Dungeon World characters because Al wants to try running it. I made a dwarven cleric who hatched from a stone egg and worships the What Lies Beneath with sacrifice, although maybe I should have used my dwarf fighter idea.

    This was Nonny's first year of getting to stay up for fireworks. I think he liked it, although it was really very late for a smol Non.

    The fairground where the fireworks are viewed has been massively upgraded from two years ago, so it's not just a huge dirt field, there are buildings and concession stands and grass and security goons and stuff. But the fireworks still go boom.


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    3 July 2019 - Wednesday

    Ken and Ayse and Jus and Nonny went up to Roseville for the holiday weekend during the day, but that filled up a car and I had to work, so I went up with Dave in the evening. There was some traffic, and also some heat, but we did eventually make it.

    The Pettersons' new house is already full of stuff, because Sherilyn is always ready to survive the complete collapse of the scrapbooking industry, but it is so large that everyone had a room with a door except Dave (and the room I had was so big it could easily have held both of us and some additional people as well). Also I had my CPAP machine (which I didn't the last time we visited) so I kind of slept okay.


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    2 July 2019 - Tuesday

    I did see Avalon tonight, but I am still a pretty low-quality boyfriend.


    We Never Learn (Taishi Tsutsui) has encouraging things to say about talent and effort, but is mostly just high schoo harem high jinx.

    Valiant Dust and Restless Lightning (Richard Baker) are the subgenre of military SF that is Victorian colonialism with starships. Like, the major powers are not even disguised as Britain, France, and Germany. The colonized are sometimes depicted as bumbling, but the colonizers are pretty much always depicted as arrogant and greedy, so that's something. (The main character is from a client world himself, so not as inclined to jingoism.) The ossified, decadent, ancient empire of inscrutable aliens is maybe a little too much of a stand-in for China, though.

    Unsung Heroine (Sarah Kuhn) is a shorter work about one of the secondary characters from Heroine Complex/Heroine Worship/Heroine's Journey, the team's unpowered but awesome martial artist/karaoke star, and how she finds true love or at least heart-warming girlsmooches.


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    1 July 2019 - Monday

    I did some stuff for capitalism. Probably I didn't do enough of it, and I'm sure I didn't do it very well, but I did it.


    We watched the first episode of The Umbrella Academy, which was very superhero, much dysfunctional, wow. So far I like Five best. Diego is a butt.


    Volume 2 of Witch Hat Atelier (Kamome Shirahama) is about dragons and disaster response and law enforcement. But our heroine seems to be bonding with her fellow apprentices, and learning better magic-drawing technique.

    The Fifth Science (Exurb1a) is I guess a little like Lem? Only not really. It is short stories through the future history of humanity as it learns to make everything in the universe conscious. Clarke's Law applies from time to time. Humans are awful to each other and to robots. Some things are wondrous.


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    30 June 2019 - Sunday

    I complain about traveling four hours for four hours of gaming, so I was not all that pleased to travel four hours for like three hours of gaming (I'm pretty sure an SCRPG adventure takes o(N) time to play and Deirdre was out with a bad back and Edie was at Pride). But the gaming was fun while we had it!


    In the evening I saw Avalon for the first time in forever, because I am a poor excuse for a boyfriend. She has been okay, though, and doing death lord stuff.


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    29 June 2019 - Saturday

    Now that the cleaners only come once a month, they threw my routine all off so I completely failed at almost everthing today. I did manage to shop for groceries, at least.



    I finally finished rereading Empowered (Adam Warren) from the beginning, so I could read volume 9 (Emp continues to rock!) and Empowered and Sistah Spooky's High School Hell (art by Carla Speed McNeil). I probably should not like this series as much as I do.

    Kaiju Girl Caramelise vol 1 (Spica Aoki) is not raunchy or violent at all, because the main character turning into a kaiju when afflicted by unrequired love doesn't make it not shoujo.


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    28 June 2019 - Friday

    There was a complicated plan where I would go home in the late afternoon and do the handover there (since I am doing it tonight as a swap with my boss), but it failed because the train was late and then there was a different train and it was generally horrible and also poorly air-conditioned. I ended up getting home at the usual time, which worked well enough, so I will probably not try this trick again.


    I liked Shooting the Rift, so I looked for more books by Alex Stewart and found A Fistful of Elven Gold. It was only okay, alas. It reads more like an RPG adventure that was fun to play through than a novel.

    Cinder & The Prince of Midnight (Susan Ee) is like a more horror-flavored Cinderella, with some Robin Hood thrown in.

    Help Fund My Robot Army!!! and Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects (ed John Joseph Adams) is exactly what it sounds like. Some of them are good as stories, some are only okay as stories, some I would contribute to, all will seem horribly dated in twenty years.


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    27 June 2019 - Thursday

    I got some love from Aspen! She did the rubbing against the table leg with her tail up thing while I was trying to get ready to leave, so I tried giving her some pettins, and she approved! What a good kitty!


    I did some work, and stayed until a hundred o'clock at night to hand over to the India team and didn't get home until superlate and bleagh.


    I though the word "imagineer" was trademarked by Disney, but apparently not. Anyway, the book Imagineer (Honor Raconteur) is about a teenage girl with anime-style useless absent parents who suddenly discovers she has vast magical powers and is welcomed by the secret world of magical creatures and there is a mystery and stuff. Unfortunately, past the opening chapters, there is not much tension.

    The Warship (Neal Asher) is the second in the "Rise of the Jain" trilogy and therefore 390562349560th in the "Polity" universe, but it does not really add anything. The previous book at least told us more about the Jain and some other aliens.

    I had never heard of Karin Tidbeck, but based on the short stories in Jagannath, I should seek out more of her work! It is very Scandinavian-feeling (to this completely-non-Scandinavian reader), surreal fantasy or magical realism or something. Anyway, I like them and maybe you will like them too.


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    26 June 2019 - Wednesday

    Surprisingly, we had Kelsey and not Mike (boo germs!) for gaming, but we were prepared with Eclipse Phase 2E! We finally made it on to the place my character's previous instance disappeared, and found out that something is definitely going on or there wouldn't be gossip bloggers trying to find out why he mysteriously vanished.

    As usual, I am terrible at everything and yet talk too much.


    Hexarchate Stories (Yoon Ha Lee) is shart pieces, some barely vignettes, in the past and future of the "Machineries of Empire" series. Just a minute, I have to go fling myself into a pit now.

    I swear it's a complete coincidence that the other book I finished today was titled Hex-Rated (Jason Ridler). It is nothing alike, but is much 1970, very Los Angeles, wow, with sketchy mages and a porn studio and a PI who has magic but prefers to use fast talk.


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    25 June 2019 - Tuesday

    I managed to do one of the things I didn't do yesterday, the one my coworker didn't have to do for me. Also I got some more stuff to do, which is okay.


    Hey, look, it's an episode of Elementary where Sherlock almost faces a consequence!


    Part-Time Gods (Rachel Aaron) is the sequel to Minimum Wage Magic, and is still much Shadowrun, very mage/streetsam, wow. Opal's life gets better, kind of, but she is still so very doomed.

    Now I've read all the The Promised Neverland (Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu) I have, and it stops in the middle of a giant conflict where the characters have to come up with a really good plan right away! Augh!


    Words: FAIL.

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    24 June 2019 - Monday

    Because I am stupid, I failed to do the thing or the other thing at work, and one of my cow orkers had to do the thing instead.


    We've reached episodes 5-6 of MIX, which I think is the halfway point, and now there is fan service and an obvious romantic interest and blah.


    I didn't like Timebound (Rysa Walker) as much as the "Delphi" series, even though it has time travel and timeline alteration and period costumes. Meh.

    The Last Supper Before Ragnarok (Cassandra Khaw) wraps up the "Gods & Monsters" shared universe thing, with suitable mysticism and doom and Rupert Wong.


    Words: FAIL.

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    23 June 2019 - Sunday

    Today I accomplished nothing because I was on call from 13:30 to 19:30. Unlike last week, no customers caused problems, so I spent the entire six hours scrolling through trumblr like the waste of otherwise-recyclable organic matter I am.

    After I handed things over to the India team, Marith and I watched some more MIX. It's still not as good as Cross Game.


    In volume 2 of O Maidens In Your Savage Season (Mari Okada, Nao Emoto), one of our protagonists gets a makeover, one of them tries to meet the person she's been having tinysex (sorry, "cyber") with, and all of them continue to flail about the fact that sex exists. I think Pigtails Girl and Blonde Girl are the most likely to not be straight. Short Girl is the cutest.

    I found many volumes of The Promised Neverland (Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu) at the bookstore, so I bought them in hopes of finding out more about the outside world, and indeed, the end of the anime is part way into volume 5. Everything past that point is new and exciting!


    Words: FAIL.

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    22 June 2019 - Saturday

    No anime tonight! Monkeycats went to see A Midsummer Night's Dream last night, and the kids loved it so much they demanded to see it again, so that's what we did. This production is all women and had a strange 80s aesthetic (which means Puck had a very David-Bowie-Labyrinth wig). It was pretty cute! And Nonny liked the faeries so much.


    The main character of Komi Can't Communicate (Tomohito Oda) seems cool and aloof and everyone worships her, but actually she just has such bad social anxiety that she can't talk when people are around, and she just wants to make 100 friends. Fortunately(?) someone has figured out her problem, and also her school is full of weirdos, so hopefully everything will be okay. (Komi is adorable.)


    Words: FAIL.

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    21 June 2019 - Friday

    Tonight I did not get home in good time, because the train was horrible. Bah.


    Words: FAIL.

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    20 June 2019 - Thursday

    We swapped around on-call, so I was able to get home at a reasonable hour tonight and we watched the first half of Going Postal. I don't remember the book well enough to be sure, but Marith says it is diverging drastically.


    The Grand Dark (Richard Kadrey) is not like the other Kadrey books I've read, it is not cosmic at all. A working-class guy in a secondary-world analogue of the Weimar Republic tries to do his job and take his drugs and smooch his girlfriend, but robots are taking people's jobs and the secret police hate everyone and capitalists are making genetic monstrosities and there's another war looming and everything is unnecessarily horrible.

    Creation Machine (Andrew Bannister) feels kind of Banksian to me, with the setting that's a patchwork of libertarian enclaves and depraved fascist dystopias and presumably someone sane somewhere but not on-screen (that's mostly Against a Dark Background) and superhuman forces that tumble the characters about but end up with pretty much the status quo.

    Miniatures is a short collection of very short John Scalzi stories. They are all humorous, because Scalzi.


    Words: FAIL.

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    19 June 2019 - Wednesday

    Somehow we had everyone in one place, so we managed to play some more of Kelsey's D&D5 adventure. I do not think it went well, but then I hate D&D. Also people who always interrupt when someone is trying to say something so they can say the same thing louder (yes, even when I'm the interruptor).

    Mike, the fiend, stole my Thai food plan, so I have to think of something different next week!


    The Empress of Forever (Max Gladstone) is like Guardians of the Galaxy does Journey to the West in a ruined transhuman galaxy, with the inventiveness of Three Parts Dead. Or maybe it is even more awesome than that sounds, because and it has relatively few male characters.


    Words: FAIL.

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    18 June 2019 - Tuesday

    Marith had never seen The Mummy, so we watched it.I don't think she appreciated it as much as tumblr does, but that was pretty much the whole evening.


    Now I have read The Ancient Magus' Bride (Kore Yamazaki), which covers pretty much the same ground as the anime, ending with Chise giving [SPOILER] the [SPOILER] status. In vol 10, a whole new arc starts, where Chise and Elias are both going to have to deal with Humans. I am sure there will be no problems whatsoever.

    The Outside (Ada Hoffman) is about a physicist trying to live under the transcendent only slightly soul-eating AI gods when they have declared all the good parts of physics heretical just because they drive humans mad and may destroy the universe. The main character is explicitly autistic, but aside from sensory issues, it doesn't seem to affect things much, which may indicate that the author (who is autistic herself) is a better writer than I am a reader.


    Words: FAIL.

    Re: The Mummy by marithlizard (Sat Jun 22 09:42:38 2019)

    It was a fun movie, and the leads were very cute! Just not enough to displace any of the current fangirl devotion objects. (Apparently these days we prefer characters with at least a millenium of backstory, to get that real angst-seasoned flavor.)

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    17 June 2019 - Monday

    Monday Capitalism. Bah.

    Apparently everyone's first on-call shift has been terrible since forever, and usually it's not like that. We'll see.


    MIX is a baseball anime based on a manga by the same person who did Cross Game. I guess the same people were involved in the anime, because the character designs are very similar and the story seems similar too.


    Nowhere to Run (Elliott Kay) is the sequel to Run Like Hell, in which our band of intrepid humanoids fight against evil, and also some kind of demonic buried spirit thing. The humans suck worse, really. Also I ship the bugbear and the human.


    Words: FAIL.

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    16 June 2019 - Sunday

    I didn't start being on call until 7:30, so in theory I could have taken a shower and started the day and everything, but I am too lazy. Also then customers sent email, and sent more email, and finally called with a tale of great woe that I had no idea how to deal with so I had to call my boss (which is technically fine, since she was my designated backup, but still annoying) and there was a huge conference call that lasted until my shift ended and my boss² took over at 13:30 and I had no lunch and generally it was awful. Maybe I should live in a cardboard box behind the bus station.

    I did manage to go shopping, but still didn't find any pants that were even vaguely my size. Maybe I should die in a pit.


    In the next episode of Elementary, Sherlock has the potential for personal growth but passes it by in favor of thinking he's better than everyone else in the world put together. Shock. Surprise.


    Words: FAIL.

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    15 June 2019 - Saturday

    I walked so much on Thursday that I felt entirely justified in riding the bus to go shopping. Well, mostly justified.


    Hurray, Ayse is back from Montreal and Quebec City! With pictures, and tales of paté! Ken is sick, but not too sick to make bouillabaisse. Children are shrieky.

    • Sailor Moon Super S 160: Finally the Amazoness Quartet get hip to area-effect attacks!
    • RWBY 2.4.5-6: Start of the school dance subarc.
    • Hibike! Euphonium 2 12-13: Nationals! Denouement! The end! Which means every chance for Kumiko to hook up with either Reina or Asuka-senpai has passed. Bah.

    Then Ken fell over due to aforementioned sickness, but the rest of us watched one more episode.

    • AKB0048 4: Is AKB0048's home base an example of fully-automated luxury queer space communism? They have ideological fences, after all. Discuss.

    Exorsisters (Ian Boothby, Gisèle Lagacé) is about comedy Hell, not horror Hell, so it can be cute and silly. And it is!


    Words: FAIL.

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    14 June 2019 - Friday

    What's the saying, "You don't love Friday, you just hate capitalism"?


    The first volume of Happy Sugar Life (Tomiyaki Kagisora) seems to exist for the sole purpose of giving yuri a bad name. I mean, sure, plenty of nominally romantic male protagonists commit murder and kidnapping to be with the severly underage girl they obssess over, but that's not really something to be emulated. Gah.

    The Delphi Effect, The Delphi Resistance, The Delphi Revolution (Rysa Walker) are okay modern psionic teenagers vs evil government conspiracies, with bonus found family theme.

    Antisocial wizard takes over a mountain full of undead dwarves, hires goblinoids and orcs that are being kicked out of the human kingdoms as guards, everything is great until adventurers show up with their self-righteousness and excessive magic and shouted attack names and slaughter almost everyone. Only half a dozen minions (and one prisoner) escape, by working together and becoming friends and also fighting off a metric fuckton of undead dwarves, as they Run Like Hell (Elliott Kay).


    Words: FAIL.

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    13 June 2019 - Thursday

    Stayed at work forever again so I could do the handover. I managed to get an earlier bus on my way home, but that just meant I had to walk all the way home from the train station instead of walking most of the way until the bus caught up to me for the last few blocks. I don't think there's a way I can get home before 22:00, although maybe I should look into going to the MV station and taking the light rail.


    Words: FAIL.

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    12 June 2019 - Wednesday

    Not quite as hot as yesterday, but the weather still does not meet with my approval. (I get to say that, I don't drive!)


    Unsurprisingly, Kelsey cancelled at the last minute, so instead of D&D5 we had 13th Age Glorantha to go with our tomato soup casserole. Mike likes playing everything out in detail, so we only progressed a little further in the heroquest, but we did move forward. Also no one got surprise backstory.


    The main character of The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic (FT Lukens) wants to build up some money so he can go to college far away from his tiny Michigan town, so he answers a sketchy job posting and gets mixed up in the secret world of magical creatures and keeping that secret means lying a lot not only to his best friend but to the guy he really likes and there is doom everywhere oh god! I liked it pretty well.

    Storm of Locusts (Rebecca Roanhorse) is the sequel to Trail of Lightning, in which everyone's favorite murderbabe has to travel more of the post-apocalyptic Southwest and meet more supernatural beings, and even worse, has to make friends. (My snark notwithstanding, it's actually still pretty awesome, drawing from a lore that hasn't been picked clean, the villain is creepy and horrible, and Maggie is trying to not kill people even though that's her actual superpower.)

    It's a legitimate symptom of massive PTSD brought about by the literal end of the world, but the main character of Katrina Hates The Apocalypse (Russell Nohelty) works so hard to not care about anything that the reader can't care about any of it either.


    I finally finished reading through the pre-release version of Lancer, which is partly by the guy who did Kill Six Billion Demons. Most of it is mecha combat using a system that is clearly strongly influenced by D&D4, but the character art is in the K6BD style, and it has setting bits like having to reboot your AI assistant every couple of years before it outgrows the shackles that keep it in the shape of a human mind and becomes a (possibly literal) god. It is even a reasonably positive future, despite the massive engines of destruction entrusted to people like the PCs. I don't know that I'll ever play it, but I approve of it in theory.


    Words: FAIL.

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    11 June 2019 - Tuesday

    Why is it still hot? Why is there no wind? I blame people who drive cars!


    More Hogfather, although really it's too hot to watch things.


    Yuri anime and yaoi manga notwithstanding, modern Japan is not actually that great about gay people, which is why the protagonist of Our Dreams at Dusk (Yuhki Kamatani) is so distraught about being semi-outed at school. Fortunately he finds a crew of people who are also queer or at least socially noncomforming in some fashion, who are also a nonprofit that renovates the abandoned houses their town is full of. The art is kind of magical realism, or at least not always representational, but the story is very real-world.

    Between Frames (WR Gingell) is the fourth "City Between" book, and Pet finally runs into the problem that having any sort of morals or ethics is inconsistent with Behindkind. And after she solved their mystery by using her "inferior" human brain, too! Poor Pet.

    Brine and Bone (Kate Stradling) is a retelling of "The Little Mermaid" from the PoV of the prince's human fiancee. Yah, that's pretty messed up.


    Words: FAIL.

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    10 June 2019 - Monday

    I went to work and did work but then there was a power outage, so I had to go home in the middle of the afternoon instead of when it was maybe slightly cooler. Uggggghh. Then I had to work at home, which was definitely suboptimal, but I did get some things done.


    Today's TV: first episode of Hogfather. It is very BBC, and would probably be very confusing to anyone who hadn't read the preceding Death books. Like most TV adaptations, it makes me want to read the book again.


    In the second and final volume of Slumbering Beauty (Yumi Unita), our somnolent and sleep-inducing heroine must decide whether she wants to leave her human life behind, and it's actually a question. I like that she realized that her parents loving her doesn't change that they made her really unhappy for a long time.


    Words: FAIL.

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    9 June 2019 - Sunday

    Dave and I slogged through the blazing heat so he could run the third issue of the SCRPG starter kit, and it was probably worth it! Apparently Dave had to put a bunch of work into fixing their terrible adventure design, though.

    No gaming next week or the week after.


    When I got home I was too melted to decide what to watch, so we tried the first episode of Aggretsuko. I see why some people like it, but it didn't grab either of us, so we watched Elementary instead. Woah, watch out there, Sherlock, or people will expect you to have feelings all the time! Also, what the hell is your brother up to?


    Words: FAIL.

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    8 June 2019 - Saturday

    No Ayse, she is in Montreal and other northern climes, so Ken has to wrangle Jus and Nonny all by himself, which seems to be a lot of work. Nevertheless, we did some anime.


    Words: FAIL.

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    7 June 2019 - Friday

    Yay I survived the week! Kinda.


    The cover to Infestation (William Meikle) shows a giant isopod eating a ship and it was free (Kindle Unlimited), so I had to get it. The isopods were not as impressive as advertised, but it was good enough that I read the next one, and that had bonus Carnacki and Electric Pentacle references, so I kept reading (they're short!) and eventually I had read eight stories about these stoic British special forces soldiers who keep running into monsters on missions that should be in an entirely different genre. (The author found a formula for the titles after the first one: Operation: Antarctica, Operation: Siberia, Operation: Amazon, Operation: Loch Ness, Operation: Syria, Operation: Norway, and Operation: Mongolia. You can probably guess several of the monsters they encounter.) Some of the monsters are natural-ish, some are blatantly supernatural, and some have a dubiously scientific explanation but are really magic, but no one seems to find them worthy of more than passing comment even though we never hear about any others. This failure of worldbuilding annoys me.


    The protagonist(s) of Gleipnir (Sun Takeda) think the person giving the big reveal in volume 2 is full of crap, and they might be right, although I've read manga with less plausible excuses for superpowers. Not many with wackier superpowers, though.

    In volume 3 of Ran and the Gray World (Aki Irie), it seems like Otaro is being set up as a more feasible partner for Ran, which is not okay. It might not be the case, so I'll keep reading for now because I like everything else.


    Words: FAIL.

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    6 June 2019 - Thursday

    It's Thursday, so I was on call during the day and had to stay until late to do the handover. This time, I actually got a phone call from a customer! It was about a ticket they just opened, which wasn't actually a problem, so as calls go that wasn't so bad. But, despite trying to be more clever, I ended up not getting home until 22:00 again. That was not good, but I'm not sure what I can do about it.


    The final volume of Knights of Sidonia (Tsutomu Nihei) does in fact wrap things up, with suitable drama and various reasonably-deserved endings, and has a flashforward to years later. But did the author really mean to imply that the captain [SPOILER]? If so, it turned out okay.

    I can't say this series is perfectly hard SF, nor that it's not problematic (especially around gender), but it's pretty good, and not 100 volumes long!


    Keeper of the Lost Cities (Shannon Messenger) is like "Harry Potter" in that a pre-teen gets sucked into a secret world of magic and is faced with high-level problems and leaves their mundane family behind to go to school in the new world, but at least it's not a male protagonist. Also this is a much more brightly-colored world, if not less full of terrible things, and the conspiracies are actually conspiratorial, not just prophetic mumbo-jumo. Maybe Jus would like it?


    Words: FAIL.

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    5 June 2019 - Wednesday

    No Mike and no Kelsey, so we had no gaming at all and were reduced to playing Lords of Waterdeep, which I somewhat enjoy but am terrible at. Also, Korean food (which I definitely enjoy, but am probably at as well).


    Now through volume 14 of Knights of Sidonia (Tsutomu Nihei), and the doom is intensifying! Of course the internal enemy who has been plotting since like volume 3 is making their move, as the Sidonia heads into the final battle against the gauna cluster ship, because they suck.

    To Clear Away the Shadows (David Drake) is another "RCN" book that's not about the original team. This one is more like Darwin's voyage on the Beagle, or other C19 naturalists going to sea and getting mixed up with all sorts of imperialism. These characters are maybe not as sympathetic as the author might think?

    2001: An Odyssey in Words (ed Ian Whates, Tom Hunter) is a collection of short stories in honor of the late Sir Arthur C Clarke, each exactly 2001 words long. I recognized what some of them were inspired by! All of them were pretty good.


    Words: FAIL.

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    4 June 2019 - Tuesday

    How embarrassing, I got caught falling asleep in the team meeting. I don't know what's wrong with this office, but I am way more somnolent than I was in the other office.


    We watched another Elementary, because neither of us is smart enough to find something better.


    In Knights of Sidonia (Tsutomu Nihei) vol 11-12, Tanikaze collects another female-presenting sophont, but she does not have a great impact on his life because they are entering the death spiral of the series.


    Words: FAIL.

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    3 June 2019 - Monday

    Ugh, Monday. Nobody likes Monday.


    But at least Monday has the conclusion of Good Omens! The biggest special effects scene was all the goofiest and least necessary, because BBC. And there was a lot of epilogue. Like, the whole of episode 6.


    The October Man (Ben Aaronovitch) is very much like a Peter Grant story except it's set in Germany and the main character is sick of hearing about Peter Grant and the Nightingale and the Nightingale's newer, even more terrifying, apprentice. His attitude is very similar, though.

    In an attempt to read outside my genre, I read Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead (Sara Gran), which is sort of a mystery but also mystical (not fantasy, the main character is just like that) and set in dystopian post-Katrina New Orleans. I did not hate it as much as one might think from the mysticism, but I do not feel a great need to read more about this protagonist.


    For the past week or so, I have been rereading Knights of Sidonia (Tsutomu Nihei), and I finally got through volume 10, which is where I stopped before (because the rest wasn't out then). Some of it I remembered, a lot was familiar once I saw it again, but some of it I had completely forgotten about. Now, onward to the five volumes I have never read.


    Words: FAIL.

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    2 June 2019 - Sunday

    Today we played the second issue of the Sentinel Comics RPG starter adventures. Of course Hazel was there to play her gadgeteer character for the first time in a completely non-technological adventure, but I think it all worked out. Kinda. I think all of us experienced gamers need to make more room for the new gamers, but I'm not sure how to do that except by not gaming. Which is probably what I should be doing anyway.


    I returned home in time to watch another two episodes of Good Omens. You know, these malign supernatural creatures are really pretty disturbing despite not having a huge amount of SFX. Good job, people with scary brains!

    I really should reread the book, though.


    Words: FAIL.

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    1 June 2019 - Saturday

    Ken is back, so we have regular anime again! But everyone is sleepy, so we don't have very much anime.


    Words: FAIL.

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    31 May 2019 - Friday

    Oh no! I forgot my iPad at home! Woe! Dismay! I can't be expected to concentrate on work for an entire day!

    But I did do some more cases, and also worked on knowledge base articles that needed cleaning up.


    The first two episodes of Good Omens are pretty swell. It is very BBC, weird animated opening sequence and lack of gratuitous special effects and all, and there is really no heterosexual explanation for anything about Aziraphale and Crowley.


    Words: FAIL.

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    30 May 2019 - Thursday

    Not only have I taken more tickets, but I finally closed one, so I feel like I am actually contributing and not just taking advantage of these people. Also I was on call today in case any customers tried to contact us by phone, but they knew better, and I stayed until a million o'clock to hand things over to the India team. Unfortunately that turns out to be exactly wrong for transit back to San Jose and I didn't get home until a million and three o'clock. I will need to do something more clever next week.


    Words: FAIL.

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    29 May 2019 - Wednesday

    Kelsey bailed at the last minute yet again, so instead of D&D5e to go with our kabobs, we had 13G and the continuation of the Yinkin heroquest where Yelmalio gets the crap beat out of him while the PCs are useless (and also discorporated).


    Words: FAIL.

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    28 May 2019 - Tuesday

    Today I successfully took a ticket! Also I am set up to be on-call someday, which is less exciting, but oh well.

    Wow! Two nights with Avalon in the same week!


    I don't know why I am reading so much 13th Age stuff now that I'm not playing it any more, but Bestiary 2: Lions & Tigers & Owlbears is pretty swell. Some of the monsters, like the fallen icons, are game-specific, but others (like the star masks, yes) would work well anywhere.

    Also read recently:

    • A Wish After Midnight (Zetta Elliott), which is disturbing and upsetting as anything that involves race and poverty in the US must be.
    • Keep an Ace in the Hole (Andrew Seiple), a short story about some of the other villains in the "Dire" universe.

    Words: FAIL.

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    27 May 2019 - Monday

    Today we did successfully take Jus and Nonny to the Children's Discovery Museum, which they are really too old for but enjoyed anyway, until they had to go home to accept Ken's offering of dumplings.

    I went grocery shopping again, and ended up with more yummy food, but it still seems like I have not accomplished anything this whole long weekend.


    Avalon is still alive! And for some reason still willing to listen to me complain about my life!


    After Avalon went to bed, I let Marith out of her cell and we watched the end of Castlevania. Meh. I mean, it was an ending, but I'm not sure about the epilogues. Some of them didn't seem in character, some were just depressing. Overall, I think this show could have been done much better.


    Troika! Numinous Edition is much like the version I read a while back, only with a surreal hotel adventure in the back. I have no idea whether I would like this game or not.

    Monster Costumes by Jackson Tegu is a short game about young monsters and young humans dressing up to go trick-or-treating, and possibly being scared.


    Words: FAIL. I meant to write some during the long weekend, but no, that would have been like accomplishing something useful.

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    26 May 2019 - Sunday

    For no very good reason, I went to the comics store Dave found that is not horribly far away, Space Cat. It is definitely a hole-in-the-wall kind of joint, an odd-shaped space with shelves all over and a confusing filing system, but they sold me some comics anyway.

    Then I had a doro tibs (with collard greens) accident at Gojo Ethiopian Restaurant which is just a couple of blocks away, but it turned out okay because Jus and Nonny were too slothful or contrary to do anything like we planned. We will do the thing tomorrow!

    So instead I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for clothes, which was not very successful because my body is defective and the wrong shape and capitalism hates me and I hate everything.


    In the evening, we watched some Castlevania (Sypha is kind of terrifying) and some Elementary (Sherlock is kind of a jerk).


    Words: FAIL.

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    25 May 2019 - Saturday

    I tried to go shopping early, but was thwarted by a cat who needed pettins.


    We had no Ken, because he is at Baycon with the cool gamers, so we ate food from Taiwan instead of home-cooked, but watched anime anyway. Also we taught Jus to play Hearts, which she did so enthusiastically that we forgot to watch Sailor Moon!

    • RWBY 1.16: End of season 1! Weiss is being almost not terrible! Penny is terrifying!
    • AKB0048 1-3: Dave was the only one who hadn't seen these, but I think he liked them? How can anyone not like battle-hardened combat idols?

    Volume 3 of Girls' Last Tour (Tsukumizu) reveals more about the world Yuu and Chi are trundling through, and it is very sad.


    Words: FAIL.

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    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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    Previously in Trip's Life


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