Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 November 2004 - Tuesday

As is my custom, I lay sluggishly abed reading manga for much of the morning, but I found new ones I like! Mystical Prince Yoshida-kun is wacky yet dead-pan, with a main character who can master any skill in a few hours, but doesn't use them very productively. Oh, and he's just been declared successor to the former demon king, who got bored and abdicated. Dream Gold is in vaguely the same genre as Gad Guard, but with explicit magic instead of sufficiently advanced nanotech. The main character is very smart, spends a lot of time running away, gets no respect, and sometimes fights sky pirates. How can you go wrong?

Also somewhat interesting was From Far Away, which is in the same schoolgirl-transported-to-magical-world genre as Red River, but without magic translation. The author translates all the alien-language dialog so the readers can tell what's being said, but I have to wonder if it might not be more effective to keep the alien language in glyphs, to show us what the main character is going through.

* * *

On the train to Millbrae, I finished reading The Family Trade, by Charles Stross. It was pretty good, but ends on something of a cliffhanger, and the main character never asks any of the fundamental questions I was wondering about through the whole thing. I'm sure the author has considered those issues and has everything worked out, but it was still annoying to not find out anything about that aspect of the setting. Still, I will undoubtedly buy the next one in hardcover too, so I can't be too offended.

* * *

I won't say anything about Millbrae because it makes me sound like a goob, except that the Safeway behind Norm's office was randomly full of Taiwanese stewardesses in identical green uniforms. Unexpected, yet decorative!

* * *

No anime tonight, but at least this time Neil RSVPed. Next week for sure! Maybe.

* * *

Yay! All caught up on my web page! Finally.

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29 November 2004 - Monday

Woo hoo! Taos has finally figured out who is to be account manager for Keepmedia! And she has talked to the Keepmedia guy, who wants me to write scripts for them! However, it would be only 20 hours/week, and not starting for a week or two, which is less than ideal. Still, it's better than nothing and I would take it instantly except that the guy from Tellme, who received my resume via a long chain involving Ambar, is sending me email asking when he can phone scream me. Argh!

* * *

Luckily, I can put off deciding on the Keepmedia thing for a while, says account manager Terri. Whew!

* * *

Ack! Scott from Tellme wants to phone scream me tonight! Where did I put my spare brain?

* * *

Okay, that wasn't too bad. It was a pretty basic interview, focusing mostly on my background rather than technical stuff. Now Scott will pass his report on to his manager, who will phone scream if he likes it, and if I pass that too, then I will have to go in for an entire day of interview. Hopefully the manager guy (something Hammond) will get back to me by tomorrow or the next day, though.

* * *

Evening of disturbing videos!

The second episode of Andromeda appeared to involve setting up a society where some people offer themselves as hosts to magog larvae to keep a good supply of magog around to protect them from slavers. I think their method of keeping the magog from gorbelling will work, so the plan should be functional. Just... eww.

Then I watched the first disc of Requiem from the Darkness, which is about a poor schmoe in Meiji-era Japan who finds his fate entwined with that of some supernatural weirdos who travel the land meting out justice to wrongdoers who are getting away with it. So far it's all been strictly human madness and depravity, but that's even creepier than rampaging demons would be. It doesn't help that the art is very hallucinatory: all buildings distorted and without right angles, vivid unreal colors in the sky, everyone except the main character and a few others drawn as exaggerated goblin-creatures, ... It's creepy!

Fortunately I am not susceptible to nightmares.

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28 November 2004 - Sunday

I should be writing up the AQoJ session, but instead I'm flopping around lamely. My excuse is that I've been social for days and days and need to hide under a rock.

* * *

Marith came over and we watched five episodes of second-season Buffy. The doom, it is swift and terrible and unrelenting. But so is the rocket from Buffy's launcher.

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27 November 2004 - Saturday

Today we played Advanced Civili! Kerry (Carrie?) and Dave, Al & Sherilyn's board-gamer neighbors, came over and after looking through the Huge Stack of Games, Civ ended up on top even though we knew we wouldn't be able to finish. I was Iberia, which was probably a mistake, because I came in last place by a considerable margin, but oh well. Fun was had. Dave and Kerry seemed to be pretty good geeks.

* * *

Zoom, zoom! We got home at about 21:00, so I watched some Andromeda and played some zangband and was generally useless before bed.

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26 November 2004 - Friday

I guess today is when the traffic was bad, because Harold (and his Chris) were delayed on their way to Roseville, but we still sat down to at a reasonable time to play ...

Amazon Quintet of Justice VIIId: "Fall of the Naga Pirates!"

Before Our Heroines can follow the escaping nagas, Fresa is laid low by the illness dwarves suffer after being surrounded by ocean for weeks and has to retreat to the boat. (Don't ask.) Fortunately, Marika shows up at about this time, having followed the other Amazons with a message from Princess Lisbet. This is deemed sufficient strength, and the Amazons attack!

The underwater tunnels are not too complicated, and the Quartet soon find the naga ambush. Two nagas fully prepared for battle are a tough match, but one is soon killed and the other flees deeper into the caves. It makes its stand once it meets up with its allies: three magic snakes, a yuan-ti, and a vrock demon. Marika and Alyra charge while Amaryllis and Gabrielle attack from afar, but Alyra is once again strucken with a magically-induced fear of snakes and flees the battle. Marika is overwhelmed and slain, and since none of their foes have been taken out of the fight, the remaining Amazons execute a strategic withdrawal, leaving the tunnel sealed behind them.

Under cover of invisibility, Amaryllis teleports back to the site of the battle, grabs Marika's body, and teleports away before the pirates can do anything. The three Amazons take Marika back to the boat so that Fresa can resurrect her, and lay their plans.

The next morning, fully enhanced by Fresa's magic, Our Heroines make another assault on the pirate lair. This time they teleport in, bypassing the wall they created last time as well as any ambushes that might have been laid for them, and catch the snakes sleeping on the beach where the last battle was fought. The three snakes are easily dispatched, but as the last one expires, Alyra hears someone coming down the tunnel.

The naga isn't taken by surprise when the Amazons jump her, but outnumbered three to one and without her full armaments of magic, she is quickly put to flight, and then surrounded and killed before her yuan-ti ally can do much to help her. The yuan-ti is then mentally controlled and interrogated, then killed when she tries to escape into the stone floor.

The inner sanctum of the pirates is behind a solid stone wall which only the chief naga knew the spells to open, but Amaryllis's magic gets the Amazons in easily, and the looting search of the pirates' temple and personal quarters begins! Sadly, not a lot of information about the pirate's greater motives or secret masters is found; according to the yuan-ti, the Great Master just teleports in when he wants to deliver orders. However, some papers in Dwarvish are appropriated for Stephen to study later, and the ominous tapestries from the temple are seized. As is, really, everything else, except for those items too close to the pool of seething evil that strongly resembled the one the Amazons had found in another dark temple.

Having furnished their pocket dimension with the best of the pirates' personal effects (including an opulent four-poster bed and a gold and silver bathtub in the shape of a squid, which produces its own hot water) and stored everything else for later sale, Our Heroines return triumphant to Pelagos!

A few days afterward, Amaryllis is approached by a seedy individual who claims to represent some people interested in buying the tapestries from the pirate temple. Amaryllis cautiously admits to having only ten of the twelve, at which the agent shakes his head sadly and names the outrageous sum that is all he can pay for a partial set. A meet is arranged, at which Amaryllis and Marika will show up with the tapestries while, hopefully unbeknownst to the villains, Alyra and Gabrielle will lurk nearby to follow the purchasers back to their lair.

The night of the meet comes, and Amaryllis and Marika cart the tapestries to a deserted warehouse, where the agent inspects each one and hands over a sack of platinum when he approves it. As the last exchange is made, two dozen people appear out of thin air, grab the tapestries and the money, and teleport away again! Fortunately Marika's emotional attachment to nearly twice Amaryllis's weight in platinum keeps the villain from taking it away with him, but the tapestries are are now in the hands of the dark cultists.

Half a dozen short ninjas (halfling or gnomes, perhaps) are left behind, but rather than fight them, Amaryllis and Marika teleport away, leaving the agent and his two goons to deal with them or not as they please. Amaryllis tries to scry the location of the teleporters, but is blocked.

The Amazons have already recorded the writing on each of the tapestries for Stephen's later examination, so after some discussion they destroy the two they still have, to ensure the cultists never get a complete set. Still, with that many high-powered magicians in their ranks, the cultists are clearly much more of a threat than previously believed, and will need to be dealt with soon.

The next day, the word on the street is that one of the major merchant families had a great deal of money stolen from them recently. With a sinking feeling, Amaryllis and Gabrielle wangle a dinner invitation, and discover in the course of conversation that yes, the money the cultists used to pay them is the coined platinum that was stolen from the merchants. At least they get a 10% finder's fee.

Not long after that, news spreads that King Penn has taken a large fleet and set sail for Rati with unknown intentions. Before rushing off to stop him, the Amazons meet with Queen Ditte and learn that she has changed her mind on the issue of the war and now fully supports saving the world. Later, Captain Callie explains that the queen had taken her anti-war stance to keep the support of the major merchant families, but when the merchants suddenly reversed their position, she was able to reverse hers.

With the Rati ambassador and his signed treaty, Our Heroines set out for Rati and the Pelagos fleet!

* * *

We had to break when Harold and Chris left, but it was a good stopping place anyway.

This session, we decided on a new way of calculating experience, which I guess is the 3.5 way: each character gets experience as though the average party level was equal to her level, so lower-level characters get significantly more than higher-level ones. Hopefully this will catch Gabrielle and Marika up to the rest fairly quickly.

* * *

Sometime during all this, Chrisber and Christy showed up, but they didn't come along when Al dragged Ken and I out to the local comics and gaming store and forced us to buy stuff at 20% off. The fiend! Ken picked up a massively out-of-print Exalted book he had been longing for, and I went mad with the card games and Exalted novels (the third is by Jess Hartley, so I had to buy it, and I figured I might as well get the first two so I could I read them in order...). Then we went back and played the Nodwick card game, which is all about assembling henchmen, from parts, with duct tape, in real time. I got squished like the insect I am.

* * *

Eventually there was more sleeping.

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25 November 2004 - Thursday

Today is the day of FEASTING! I mean, there was some hanging around and talking beforehand, and Dave, Ken, and I played Munchkin with one of the local gamers, a guy named Chris, but really it was all about the FOOD! Turkey, two kinds of stuffing, green bean salad, sugared and non-sugared yams, mashed potatoes, .... you think we might be Americans?

After dinner was more of the hanging out and the talking, along with the groaning, "So... full... Digestive system... overloaded... Must... enter... torpor...", but no actual events. I watched Dave play Ricochet for a remarkably long time, but eventually he lost all his ion spheres and I went to bed.

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24 November 2004 - Wednesday

I did a whole lot of nothing today, but eventually it was time to zoom away to Roseville!

Sadly, Marith could not zoom with us, because she must write and write on her many huge papers for her various classes, which are all due right away. I hope she will be okay by herself and not get depressed. :(

* * *

Amazingly, traffic was not too bad, not even on the 80! We arrived at the Pettersons' in good time, and there was plenty of time to geek before going to bed.

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23 November 2004 - Tuesday

I went to coffee with Marith in the afternoon, and then pillaged Gamescape unsuccessfully. However, I returned home in vain, since Neil stood us up for Tuesday Night Anime without any warning. Bah! Our revenge will be swift and terrible!

Dave and I entertained ourselves with disc 2 of FLCL and then exploded.

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22 November 2004 - Monday

I went into Taos to see if being present in person would let me get anyone moving on anything, but no such luck. Bah!

* * *

Return of Monday Night Pretending to Game!

We seem to be decided upon magical heroes-for-hire, a al Ghostbusters but with a more developed secret world of magic for them to interact with, and probably less apocalypse. Black-and-white morality is key, because no one wants to think on Monday nights. Villains may have assorted abominations against the natural order, but the heroes are avatars of various gods. So far we have an avatar of Vishnu (who is big on demon-smiting avatars) and a blind archer and oracle of Apollo. Chrisber is still undecided. Hero system, 125+75.

Now I just need to get people to write up characters and background and then invent some villains. Muahahahaha!

* * *

Hah! Broog understands about Edna (and The Incredibles in general)!

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21 November 2004 - Sunday

At last we have everyone for Red Room! And a good thing, too, since Earl assaulted us with powered-armor goons, invisible plasma-rifle snipers, and some of the scariest acid powers I've ever seen. (Well, okay, technically we mostly assaulted them, but they deserved it.) My character got to handily beat the snot out of an opposing martial artist and then avoid using hand-to-hand attacks on the acid monster, so I was pleased.

* * *

Yay, more cooking! This time I tried simply frying up chicken, mushrooms, snow peas, and cashews with a bit of soy sauce stuff, instead of making Thai curry sauce soup. It worked well!

* * *

Tonight's anime: Stellvia, which is about a young girl in space academy. She's clumsy and shy and all that, but she does have the redeeming quality of a being a hot coder. So that's cool.

* * *

Yay! Marith is back! Connecticut did not keep her! She didn't even have to slaugher and maim and kill her relatives!

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20 November 2004 - Saturday

Did I do anything today? zangband and grocery shopping, I guess.

* * *

Ken lured Dave and I over in the evening to watch Yes Minister and game-geek. As usual, YM was amusing in a depressing sort of way, but I think the equal opportunities episode was more depressing than most.

Ken skimmed through the D&D3e Complete Arcane and agreed that contingent spells are cool. I expect that now all the villains in Adventures of Jehane & Alazaïs will have them. We're so doomed.

contingent spells by Ken (Tue Nov 23 21:01:56 2004)

Heh, I already made extensive use of contingent spells... Granted, they're mostly for the really high level guys, so they haven't exactly been central to the campaign or anything, but.

I think my favorite version of contingent spells is in Shadowrun, in which it's possible to do all sorts of neat things using metamagic.

Contigent spells by John J. (Wed Nov 24 13:08:01 2004)

Sorry, just stepping through. I've preemptively banned contigent spells in my game, as I think the potential for abuse is too great. The idea is cool, but you seem to be able to trigger them on just about anything (like the spell Contigency, which is sixth level and only one can affect the caster at a time). And you seem to be able to have as many as you have levels, so wiggling your nose could cast Heal (for instance)... and so could wiggling your big toe or something.

Perhaps I'm reading them wrong, but my NPCs would rend through PCs with this stuff, and if the PCs started on them I'd never see the end of a combat again.

I don't think D&D is a good place to start throwing a bunch of free action type spells. The list of triggers seems open ended.

Maybe I'm misreading rules?

Re: Contigent[sic] Spells by Trip (Wed Nov 24 14:24:36 2004)

Well, first, remember that contingent spells cost XP (4 × spell_level × caster_level) and take days to craft, which both the caster and the recipient must spend doing nothing else. For a heal spell, you're looking a full week of downtime (for both caster and recipient, if they aren't the same) and 3300gp in addition to either 264 XP or another 3300gp depending on whether you craft it or buy it.

Second, contingent spells can be dispelled with dispel magic, which is already used a fair bit at higher levels, and would become more popular if powerful contingent spells were common.

As for the trigger conditions, it's not clear to me that you can have something as simple as wiggling your toe trigger the spell without risking setting it off accidently. ("Ahhh... I'm glad to get out of these boots! Hey, I feel great!") The simpler the trigger, the greater the risk, naturally. Even as a player, I'd find it perfectly reasonable to require a move-equivalent or even standard action to use a reliable, unambiguous trigger for a contingent spell. If the PC is willing to have a less reliable trigger in exchange for a shorter trigger time, start requiring a daily Will save (DC based on spell level, natch) for each spell to avoid accidentally triggering it at the most exciting or embarrassing possible time.

Also, I don't think it would be out of line to limit contingent spells to a maximum level of caster level ÷ 3, as with contingency, or perhaps even to 3rd level, like potions (which they strongly resemble).

So yah, a liberal interpretation of the contingent spell rules will let the players walk all over you, but for which rules is that not true? :)

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19 November 2004 - Friday

So I called Taos to find out what Keepmedia thought of me, and found out that the account manager who had been dealing with Keepmedia has left the company! This was pretty surprising, since she gave no sign of such a thing when I talked to her on Wednesday.

Anyway, this means that Taos is now in a huge uproar, since they only had three account managers to begin with, and no one knows what's going on. This is all internal to Taos, so it shouldn't affect what Keepmedia thinks of me, but even if they like me, I can't get put to work until Taos is able to communicate usefully with them. Argh!

* * *

We have no Marith, so there could be no Sailor Moon, but I went over to keep Ayse company while Ken was in SF pretending to suck people's blood out in a schizophrenic way. We read and talked and admired the extreme cuteness of the cats and generally didn't do anything of substance, but were happy anyway.

* * *

Ayse sleeps earlier than I do, so after returning to my own parasitelair, I watched the first disc of Legend of Black Heaven. Many shows have a cute teenaged girl (or sometimes incompetent but good-hearted teenaged boy) being recruited by aliens to save the universe, but this is the first time I've seen a middle-aged salaryman thus recruited! It's an interestingly different view of Japanese life.

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18 November 2004 - Thursday

Gwack! The guy from the client company called to phone scream me, and then said it would be better if I just came and looked at what they had. So I agreed to go out there at 14:00 today. Gwack!

* * *

Oog. It's a good thing I allowed lots of time for getting lost, because I did. However, I still made it to the interview in the wilds of Belmont with twenty minutes to spare.

I talked to the Ops manager (who would be my manager) for about an hour, and for the engineering manager (whose people would be able to stop writing scripts for Ops) for about half an hour, and I think I wasn't a complete moron. I was able to read sh, anyway.

They seem like good guys, and the company appears to have the virtues of a small company. The only problem is they want me for about 25 hours a week (subject to variation in demand), and I don't know if I can get Taos to pay me enough for that to be workable in the long term. On the other hand, it beats 0 hours per week, which is what I have now.

* * *

And now I celebrate my (hopeful) victory with Thai food!

* * *

Hm, no voicemail from Taos. I will have call first thing tomorrow morning, since if this falls through, they will need to dehire me.

* * *

My shoulders hurt from lugging spore and too many books all over Belmont. I think I will go sit in front of the TV and pulsate lethargically.

* * *

The rest of Here is Greenwood suddenly takes a sharp left turn into romance! Weird!

jobses by kit (Fri Nov 19 09:57:38 2004)

hugs! I hope it comes through! Good luck!

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17 November 2004 - Wednesday

Not quite so much with the getting up early today, but not horrible.

Yay, comics.

Yay, shopping. Yay, new space heater.

* * *

Hey, cool, the third Taos account manager has a lead for me! At a company called Keepmedia. Linux and shell scripting and vaguely search-engine-ish! I'll do a phone interview or something tomorrow.

* * *

Yay, zangband? Well, not really.

Poor Marith is feeling all doomed because she has to fly to Connecticut tomorrow. (Evil, evil Connecticut steals my friends! It better give them back!)

* * *

Tonight's anime: first part of disc 2 of Here is Greenwood. It is still much like it is, only maybe sillier.

Connecticut by mony (Fri Nov 19 06:54:55 2004)

Or Connecticut could steal you! :)

Re: Connecticut by Trip (Mon Nov 22 12:08:19 2004)

But I don't want to be stolen by Connecticut! I like the West Coast, where I can wear shorts all the time!

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16 November 2004 - Tuesday

Hah! Today I did get up at 8:15 to go into Taos, and they have two possible leads for me.

* * *

Yay! Soup of the day at the coffeehouse is five-star mushroom!

* * *

On the train, I read The Dying Earth by Jack Vance, which I had never read before (although I've read Cugel's Saga a couple of times in the past). I suppose it might have been more surprising if I hadn't already read practically everything published for The Dying Earth RPG, but it was still very Vancean (Vancesque?). And doomed. And dated, but, well, product of one's times, hard to avoid, etc.

* * *

I didn't actually go out and accost random strangers on the street today, but Norm and I did talk about it. It still seems strange to me, like a treatment (experiment?) for someone much more broken than I think of myself as being, but I don't think it actually is. Anyway, we'll see what doom the 30th brings on that day.

* * *

Weak! I am weak! Sherilyn probably won't let me use any of the suff from the Complete Arcane book for Amaryllis anyway!

* * *

Only the usual suspects for Tuesday Night Anime, but I suppose three is enough if they both think it is, and Dave and Neil both seem to be enjoying all the shows (although Neil thinks Last Exile is about 30% slow on pacing).

* * *

Bah. Despite getting up at 8:15, I did not manage to go to sleep early. Bah, I say!

Pacing by Dave (Thu Nov 18 11:24:41 2004)

I think pacing is a matter of taste. I'm quite happy with Last Exile's pacing.

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15 November 2004 - Monday

Lame parasite meant to get up and go in to Taos, but didn't.

Lamer parasite got a call from Taos pointing out that at the end of the week it will have been three months since he did anything for them, so they will have to officially terminate him (although they will invite him back if they find something that fits him).

Lamest parasite of all didn't get out of the house except to bring in the mail.

Marginally less lame parasite wrote a thousand or so words.

Slightly less lame than that parasite cooked some more glop. Sadly, the pumpkin turned out to be goop instead of chunks, so the end result was, well, goopy.

* * *

Hey, look! Some villains in Andromeda that might recur!

Lunar Legend Tsukihime is interesting modern horror. Well, I think it's horror; depends on whether the protagonist can overcome the doom that has been laid out for him. And it's pretty good doom: unless he keeps his glasses on, he can see exactly where to cut anything (explicitly including people) to make it explode into pieces. This can be handy, but it does not lead one into a normal pleasant life full of normal pleasant people...

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14 November 2004 - Sunday

Yay D&D! Finally, we explored the underground temple of pagan doom beneath the village of undead, which, unsurprisingly, contained more pagan undead. There was also not a huge amount of loot, but perhaps it's all in the secret room with the source of overwhelming evil, which we will tackle next session.

Note to self: when taking a prestige class invented by the GM, make sure to get a copy of the complete writeup ahead of time.

* * *

Last disc of Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi. Awwww! So cute!

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13 November 2004 - Saturday

At long last, we have played another session of Amber High School! It was sort of slow-moving and tentative, because none of us remember our characters (okay, arguably my character never had a personality, but other people in the game role-play). We need to remind Chrisber to dangle shiny bits before us every once in a while. (I tried to be proactive and get Ayse's character's potential romantic subplot going, but mostly failed.)

Ayse missed her kitties, so she demanded that someone climb into her lap, fall over, and purr. For no readily apparent reason I was volunteered, but apparently my performance was satisfactory.

It's a good thing none of my friends are silly.

* * *

Yummy yummy hamburgers! Not healthy, but yummy! Hurray Ken!

* * *

As his due for having made us hamburgers, Ken squished us all like tiny insects at 5-player Settlers of Cataan. Ayse and I traded frantically to try to take longest road away from him, but he played Roadbuilding on his next turn and built a settlement. Bah!

But there was no unhappiness!

* * *

Splut.

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12 November 2004 - Friday

In the afternoon, I went to coffee with Marith, which wasn't really productive participation in society, but at least I got out of the house.

* * *

Yay final disc of Azumanga Daioh! Yay Sakaki! Yay Mayaa! We were all very pleased with it.

Then we rewatched the first two episodes of FLCL so that Marith could go "buh!". Other people might hang back, unwilling to express an opinion in case sense might suddenly arrive later, but Marith is always willing to go "buh!" right away. It is one of her many features. I think. :)

Buh! by marith (Mon Nov 15 00:37:54 2004)

Um...thank you, I think? But if there is a person who would not say "Buh" or their local equivalent on first exposure to FLCL, I'd like to know who it is. Their brain might be worth dissecting.

Re: Buh! by Dave (Thu Nov 18 11:26:20 2004)

Well, I said "Ow. My brain hurts." But there is definitely pattern to the show.

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11 November 2004 - Thursday

When I went to bed at sane hour last night, I intended to get up early and go into Taos in the morning, but I slept like crap and then boofed resetting the alarm, so I ended up not getting up until 11. Blah!

While I was unconscious, Ayse called saying something about maybe hanging out at my place instead of at coffee this afternoon, so I don't know what to do!

... other than play zangband, that is.

* * *

There was some sort of Scheduling Incident, so nothing really happened. I went grocery shopping.

* * *

Marith brought over lots of orange chicken in the hopes that I could provide lots of rice, but apparently I don't actually know how to seal a bowl with plastic wrap. The rice was edible, but it wasn't good. Oh well.

More second-season Buffy! I hadn't realized that second Ethan episode came so soon after the first. Or just how very doomed Ms Calendar was.

Sorry! by Ayse (Fri Nov 12 14:44:37 2004)

Sorry for the confusion!

Re: Sorry! by Trip (Fri Nov 12 16:29:42 2004)

It's okay! Nobody actually died!

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10 November 2004 - Wednesday

It's a good thing this week didn't have as many comics as last week, because I still haven't finished last week's!

I bitched out Sean for having Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi disc 3 but not disc 2, but when I got home it turned out that I had disc 2, so uh. Well, we'll probably have both forgotten about it entirely by next week.

* * *

What kind of parasite plays zangband all day? That's right, a LAME one!

* * *

I tried cooking again, but wimped on the pumpkin and cashews, so I ended up with much the same as last time, only with red Thai curry sauce instead of green, and a lot of extra bonus onion. Also, I got rice to cook properly in the microwave on only the second attempt (the first attempt failed due to improper sealing that let all the water boil out)!

* * *

Disc 3 of Gad Guard is pretty much all character, no plot, but I liked it anyway.

Ikki Tousen is, um, underwear intensive. Not that I expected anything else, having read some of the manga (titled Battle Vixens in English), but gah. On the up side, they introduced the angst and doom right away, but I still don't recommend it if you have any taste at all.

* * *

Hey, look, I'm going to bed and it's only midnight!

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9 November 2004 - Tuesday

Wow! Earl sent email letting me know he won't be showing up for TNA! (It's NaNoWriMo, and he's behind, so I don't expect to see him again until December.)

* * *

I played more Final Fantasy Tactics for the first time in what, a week? But the [SPOILER] fight still scares me, so I just wandered around beating up monsters for job points. None of the fights was even vaguely difficult (didn't even use any Phonics Downs), so perhaps I should try the scary fight again. But not tonight.

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8 November 2004 - Monday

I went in to Taos for a while this afternoon, but no luck. Bah.

* * *

I have run out of Greencine discs! Oh no!

Fortunately, I have Gravitation disc 3 to save me.

Boy, is it melodramatic.

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7 November 2004 - Sunday

HAPPY HAPPY TAMAGODAY!

* * *

Earl did in fact show up to GM for us, so we played Red Room. Not well, mind you, but after some hints we got to the fight and beat the snot out of approximately 2 supervillains (really 1 + ½ + ½: one managed to get up again and escape, and another wasn't quite down when the hotel security burst in and shot him up). Next session we'll hopefully have reinforcements for the big fight.

Important phrase from this adventure: "lingerie of death". No, really!

* * *

Hm. I don't think what I did was stir-frying, exactly: the vegetables added a lot of water, and the green Thai curry sauce added even more, so it ended up more soup-like. But it tasted green and curryish and had chicken, bell peppers, mushrooms, and bean sprouts, and glopped onto wild rice, so I guess it was cooking of some kind.

Yay me, or something. (Really, yay Marith and hegemony, who told me how to tell when the oil was suitable.)

* * *

More second-season Buffy. Huh, I had thought the introduction of "Ripper" was later than that.

"This is just... neat."

* * *

Wolf's Rain is as full of angst as expected. But interesting!

"lingerie of death" by cat (Mon Nov 8 14:03:21 2004)

heh. i kinda helped earl come up with that. it's a great phrase.

(get your mind out of the gutter; it was inspired by a "medical investigations" episode. i like telling the TV what i think.)

Talking to the TV by Dave (Mon Nov 8 14:33:45 2004)

Talking to the TV serves a useful purpose - it changes the interaction from static to pseudo-dynamic (and possibly actually dynamic if there are other people within hearing range).

re: talking to the TV by cat (Wed Nov 10 12:21:34 2004)

then it would be dynamic, because i usually watch alongside Earl. (much more fun to watch TV when you can pause it and chatter.)

last night i found "Car Trunk of Death!!" somehow, it was nowhere near as good as "lingerie of death." oh well.

(though Earl was amused when we were watching the few episodes of Monk that aired on network TV. a couple of times per episode i would say something like "no no no he's doing that all wrong! you never mix caffeinated and decaf! to level out the amounts in each pot, you pour the extra coffee into the potted plant!")

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6 November 2004 - Saturday

After spending much time reading the huge pile of manga I got on Wednesday, I went on some sort of shopping expedition that took several hours but didn't cost too much. Paranoia supplement, Cthulhu racing game, new Liz Williams book, new Chicks anthology.

When I got home, I cleverly checked the web and found out that The Incredibles was showing at a timely time, so I seized Marith and we went. It rocked! I particularly liked the villain base, which was so very villain-base-like, and also the costume maker (although Marith liked her more).

I wish to use The Incredibles to smite all those people who think that emulating the style of a genre means it's okay to have a stupid script *coughSkyCaptainandtheWorldofTomorrowcough*.

I say nothing about Mirage/Elastigirl slash. Nothing at all. Not a single word.

* * *

When I got home from that, there was more fun at Ayse & Ken's, because Ken has the expansion for Settlers that accomodates up to six players. Aside from the larger board, the only change is that after each person's turn, every other player gets a chance to build, so that people don't become all ritter-bait all the time (4-5 turns of production between chances to spend cards, vs 2-3 turns in the regular game). Since you can only build, not trade, this was not quite as convenient for those of us who went for huge sheep production and the 2:1 port to compensate for not being able to get all five resources, but I won anyway, so I guess my strategy wasn't completely stupid.

* * *

CZR should clearly watch Wolf's Rain, which is set in the future but stars psychic werewolves. Or something. I only watched two episodes, so I'm not sure where it's going, but it clearly has great potential for angst. And, well, wolves.

Incredibles! by liralen (Tue Nov 9 21:57:35 2004)

cough cough cough

Wow. That unmentioned idea triggered the imagination considerably. Aiee.

I loved the movie. Edna appealed to me, I think, as much as it did to Marith, and possibly for the same reasons. :)

Wow. That was just so much fun. I loved how beautifully tight the plot was, too. Mmmm....

Re: Incredibles! by Trip (Wed Nov 10 01:38:34 2004)

Hee hee! I made Liralen's brain explode!

I want a killer robot like the one in The Incredibles.

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5 November 2004 - Friday

In the evening, I went over to Ayse & Ken's. People who were not me played Settlers of Cataan; I read manga, petted and petted and brushed and petted Jinian, and waved my tentacles helpfully. After Marith exploded from allergies, we watched FLCL, which Ayse quite liked. Dave and Ken at least didn't rush the TV with fire axes.

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4 November 2004 - Thursday

The first disc of Here is Greenwood finally arrived from Greencine. I don't know if it's the one they sent so long ago that's finally escaped the labyrinthine clutches of the USPS, or the replacement I requested (but which was never acknowledged) or something else entirely, but anyway, I have it! It is cute and old-skool (early 90s).

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3 November 2004 - Wednesday

Hey! I voted! Why is the country still in the hands of wilfully pig-ignorant sociopaths? ... Okay, why is it still in the hands of the same WPISs? Fuckers.

* * *

Dear lord, I have a lot of comics this week! I really really wish Tokyopop would learn to stagger their release schedules. Retailers wish it too, it turns out. Bah.

* * *

Unsurprisingly, everyone everywhere is depressed. I spent the day playing zangband and commiserating.

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to speak to Jeremy again, since, well, every atrocity the Bushites commit over the next four years is pretty directly the fault of people who voted Republican. :(

* * *

We gathered at Ayse & Ken's so as to be able to sulk in company, but mostly watched The Simpsons. Wow, old Simpsons was weird.

* * *

I know! I'll stay up until 1:30 watching four episodes of Andromeda in a row! That's a good idea, right?

Andromeda is still awfully cheesy (prison planet cheesecake!) but entertaining. And Walter Jon Williams wrote a murder-mystery episode!

Oog, my eyestalks.

Extra atrociousness by Jeremy (Thu Nov 4 22:26:02 2004)

Well, that didn't work. Stupid html forms.

If it helps, my vote didn't count because I live in California. So I am in fact more oppressed than you are.

I've got to say, though, blue people seem much more emotionally affected by these things than red folks. Go read up on real fascists and authoritarians. It'll make you feel much better about your current situation.

Ooh, ooh, and Rachel discovered a major flaw in the touch-screen voting engines. There's not enough room in the text field to write in "Joseph Lieberman and John McCain"! Talk about being deprived of your vote!

Voting Machines by Dave (Fri Nov 5 12:52:58 2004)

See, that's the sort of reason why I went for permanent absentee voter status. Stupid machines.

Re: Voting Machines by Trip (Fri Nov 5 14:16:31 2004)

I'm pretty glad I did absentee voting this time. I should probably go for permanent absentee weaselism.

Re: Extra atrociousness by Trip (Fri Nov 5 14:31:12 2004)

I should point out that something doesn't have to be the worst ever to be bad, and it doesn't have to be absolutely horrible to be Not Good. And, well, the situation has gotten monotonically worse during the past four years, so I don't think being suspicious of the trend is unreasonable.

And, uh, there was certainly a lot of emotion when the Republicans (even before their new incarnation as the Christian Theocratic Party) weren't on top during the Clinton administration. It's easy to not get upset when you've come out ahead.

I should also point out that I'm not Al; I'm not even a Democrat. I was voting the "odds seem good that Kerry will be at least slightly less vile and destructive than Bush and might win" ticket. If anyone better had had a shot at winning, they would have gotten my vote, but they didn't, so I figured a small step toward reality-based government was better than any step further away.

This should probably be on talk-darbs, shouldn't it?

Atrocious voting machines by Jeremy (Fri Nov 5 17:06:34 2004)

Man, I have a lot of trouble with this comment system. Clearly I can't count.

I try to keep religion off of talk-darbs, but if you start a thread there I might respond. :)

I requested a paper ballot at the polls. I don't seriously expect fraud, but I don't see how anyone with a passing familiarity with computers would trust 'em over paper. At least one Latin American country (Venezuela?) does it right, with voting machines that produce a paper ballot, which the voter checks and deposits. It's embarrassing that we have a dumber system than that. What's wrong with paper, I'd like to know?

Paper by mony (Sat Nov 6 06:26:04 2004)

Bah! Only the weak need accountability in their voting system!

Or something like that. :P

People Affected by Bryant (Sun Nov 7 10:25:54 2004)

I think that it is possible that one's opinion of who is more emotionally affected depends on who you hang out with. I've read enough right-wing blogs to suspect that the emotional reaction of the right to, say, Hillary Clinton is just as impressive as anyone's reaction to Bush.

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2 November 2004 - Tuesday

Vote! Vote! OK!

Well, okay, what I actually did was drop off my absentee ballot (thus avoiding the Diebold automated fraud engines), and I'm in California so it doesn't matter anyway, but still! I am civic!

Then I went to Norm, and plotted to go and talk to real live people next fortnight. Augh.

* * *

No Earl for Tuesday Night anime, but Neil did show up, so we watched anime. New this week: Ushio & Tora. I did not realize when I saw it before (long long ago), but it is so very old-skool. But amusing!

Old-skool by Dave (Fri Nov 5 12:55:30 2004)

You know, the mere existence of of that term is, I think, a wonderful thing. It's not that things necessarily get better as time goes on (although I think things tend to), but that they change enough for there to be such clear distinctions over time.

Re: Old-skool by Trip (Fri Nov 5 14:13:46 2004)

Objective things, like computer performance (to use the most cliched example), do get better, but I think with art it's more that things get more diverse, so that any one person is more likely to find something they really like.

Of course changes in average taste work into this somehow too.

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1 November 2004 - Monday

While attempting to escape my parasitenest, I read all of Dogs in the Vineyard, an excellent indie RPG by D Vincent Baker. It rocks on toast!

I think now I will go hide under the rock of being unable to design games.

* * *

I went into the Taos office to beg for work, but the most useful person wasn't there, and the less useful people weren't helpful at all. Bah.

Still no word from Ambar's contacts.

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