Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 April 2006 - Sunday

I spent today reading. First I finished Blind Lake (Robert Charles Wilson), which is so very clearly by the same person who wrote Spin. Then I read Magic or Madness and Magic Lessons (Justine Larbalestier). Larbalestier is a YA writer who happens to be married to Scott Westerfeld, and it shows, although some of that might just be that they're both Australian. Anyway, now I want the third book!

* * *

Marith spared some time from her busy WoW-playing schedule to watch another episode of Dead Like Me. The doom, the doom.

* * *

Cats: Miau!

Writing: check.

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29 April 2006 - Saturday

Awake! Awake! Zoom! Zoom!

Ayse did not come with us because she is engulfed by schoolwork, so Dave had to distract Ken with WoW geeking and we ended up taking a longcut, but we were still ahead of schedule when we made it to Roseville and discovered that Al and Sherilyn had traded their kids for a dog. She's a very nice dog, some sort of poodle half with curly black fur, but it was still surprising!

Eventually Harold arrived and we woke Marith up from her nap so we could play...

Amazon Quintet of Justice Xd: "Betrayal! Queen Ditte on the Plane of Snakes!"

When the Amazons, King Penn, and his troops return to the warehouse caves they've been looting, they are unsurprisingly ambushed by highly-trained yuan-ti abominations. One dies instantly of thermal shock when Amaryllis freezes them, but the other four give the Amazons quite a hard time as they slither among the stacks of military supplies. In the end, though, they are no match for Our Heroines, and perish ignominiously.

The pilfering of military materiel goes much as it did before, with sporadic snake attacks but no major hindrance. However, when Amaryllis returns to Pelagos with the second load, she finds the military base in shambles and nearly deserted! It seems that King Penn's men have not been properly decontaminating the crates brought to them, and once enough yuan-ti were in place, they slaughtered the undermanned and undertrained garrison and started rampaging through the city. Amaryllis gets a description of another military base, teleports there, has the soldiers unload the crates and kill the snakes, and then takes the soldiers back to the capital to help clean up. The fighting is already mostly over, with the townspeople victorious (the yuan-ti being rather short on elite warriors at this point), but Queen Ditte has been abducted!

When Amaryllis finally returns to the warehouse cave, King Penn is understandably distraught and insists on returning immediately, so Fresa collapses the warehouse behind them.

A witness to the queen's abduction claims that when the kidnappers disappeared, they used a spell to travel to another plane of existance. Amaryllis scries on the queen, but of course she is in an impenetrably dark place.

Fresa inquires of her god how the Amazons can obtain a key to the plane where Queen Ditte is being held. The response (roughly translated from Dwarvish) is

Over sand and under stone,
Hidden in a secret home...
Dragons are red,
Dragons are blue,
They are very happy,
When they eat you.

which can only mean one thing: the blue dragon in the mountains of Karal. And maybe his new friend, the great red wyrm.

There are rumors that King Penn is not displeased with the current state of affairs, as he was only King-Consort before Ditte got kidnapped.

* * *

That only took a small part of our gaming time, but then we had to come up with a plan for squishing the blue dragon, so there was no more actual gaming. There was a lot of blithering, which eventually produced a plan like this:

Sell all the falchions and breastplates (+2 to +4) that we've looted from yuan-ti abominations, for a total of 155 000 gp(!).

Buy a wand of stoneskin and items of +6 Str, Dex, and Con.

Scry on the dragon at intervals until we finally catch it at home but not completely buried.

Buff up: All the +6 items to Alyra, stoneskin on everyone, shield other from Fresa on Amaryllis, endurance on them both, greater magic weapon and elemental weapon as needed, especially on Gabrielle's bow, fly as needed, mass haste and protection from lightning on everyone.

Teleport in. The dragon will probably try to kill Amaryllis immediately, in accordance with the rule of "always waste the spellcaster", but stoneskin, endurance, and shield other should make it nearly impossible for it to kill her in one round.

Amaryllis's first action will be to contain the dragon and Alyra in a forcecage. Fresa will hold her action to counterspell any attempt by the dragon to teleport out of the cage.

Starting on her next action, Amaryllis will take over counterspelling. Fresa, Marika, and Gabrielle will attempt to keep her from getting savaged by the dragon's pet hieracosphinxes, by killing them. As Gabrielle has the opportunity, she will help out Alyra in the Force Cage Death Match with archery (the cage is only 50% cover, so arrows will be wasted, but they're cheap).

Things we need to check on: Will a 20'×20'×20' forcecage actually entrap a huge (long) creature? Does the blue dragon have a new friend? Is anyone scrying upon the Amazons as they lay their plans? What could Fresa or Amaryllis buy with 18 000 gp that would aid in this endeavour?

* * *

Cats: Glad to have me back to feed them.

Writing: check.

Answers to questions by Trip (Fri May 5 10:30:31 2006)

I'm putting this here so that when, at the beginning of our next session, we have to print out this journal entry to remember what the hell was going on, it will be here.

From personal communication with the GM, I have learned that:

  • A huge (long) dragon is sufficiently like a 10'×20' rectangle that forcecage can capture it.

  • Someone is occasionally scrying on the Amazons. I think this may result in Amaryllis sometimes expounding the virtues of bizarre plans for no apparent reason, because that would amuse her.

  • The divination results didn't actually indicate that there's a red dragon involved; Moradin's Secretary was just annoyed that we didn't listen to the rest of his carefully-composed rhyme before going "AUGH DRAGON".

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28 April 2006 - Friday

Staying up too late watching MI5 isn't too awful. Getting purrbucketed by Marmalade early in the morning isn't too awful. Both together is too awful.

Blargh.

* * *

Having given up hope of getting my Bleach fansubs to sync audio and video correctly, I turned my efforts to getting a subtitled copy of the Full Metal Alchemist movie onto DVD.

Apparently I'm not smart enough to do this either. I can get a couple of different applications to combine the .avi and .srt files into subtitled video on the screen, but none of the save options get them to output a combined file. Bah.

* * *

Elfen Lied is the most shounen anime I have ever seen, combining as it does a hapless hero with an inadvertant harem and ultraviolent superpowered combat.

* * *

Cats: Still orange.

Writing: FAILURE. Stupid video applications.

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27 April 2006 - Thursday

Marith didn't want to watch Dead Like Me, so I had to sit home all by myself and watch some of the MI5 that Earl lent me.

I was thinking that the bad guys were too unambiguously bad (and does the UK really have problems with the sort of rat bastards in the first episode?), but then I realized that a substantial fraction of the US would probably find the villains from at least the first two episodes sympathetic. Now I hate humans.

But I like cats!

* * *

Cats: ack, more pre-dawn kittybread attack!

Writing: check.

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26 April 2006 - Wednesday

Marith is dead because San Jose, so only Ayse and Ken and I went over to Earl and Cat's. It was discovered that neither Ayse nor Ken had ever seen Pirates of the Caribbean, so this was remedied immediately. Coffee brownies may have been involved.

Everything is better with pirates!

* * *

Cats: Two!

Writing: check.

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25 April 2006 - Tuesday

Full metal Alchemist had a pretty satisfying ending, and not quite as doomed as we expected!

Shadow Star: dooom! Bleach: impending doom! Samurai Champloo: historical Japanese doom!

Doom for everyone!

* * *

Cats: Marmalade, monster of early-morning affection!

Writing: check.

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24 April 2006 - Monday

While reading Negima!, I realized that the age of readers it's rated for is greater than the age of most of the characters. I don't know if this shows how broken Americans are about nudity, sex, and teenagers, or if it's just an objective indicator of sleaze. Maybe both.

* * *

Cats: Oddly skittish today, although I haven't beaten them hardly at all recently!

Writing: check.

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23 April 2006 - Sunday

Went to Chef Chu's for lunch. Shopped. (Yay, new socks!) Fought with mplayer/mencode for OSX. Gave up in despair.

I need to do more research into this, but I think the problem with audio sync on the Bleach DVDs is the short period of blank screen between the fansubbers' ad/intro screen and the start of the episode video. If this is true, a fairly simple video edit could make everything okay.

Anyone know about any simple, free video editors for OSX 10.3.9?

* * *

Cats: I trimmed a little more matting out of Dani's fur, but if I tried to get it all out, she would be practically bald. :( But she still likes me!

Writing: check. Also thought about what would have to be done to Faerie Tail to make it even marginally less awful. I think I know what the protagonist's transformation/epiphany/development should be, or at least could be. But that wouldn't make the writing any less terrible.

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22 April 2006 - Saturday

I gave Ayse some printer paper so she was able to make hardcopies of research materials, which meant we-AKMT (Ayse/Ken/Marith/Trip) could go to Santa Cruz!

Not that we did much, but it's a weekend. I resisted Exalted 2nd edition, despite the full-color interior, pretty pictures, and allegedly less cumbersome combat rules. Not even the scantily-clad kung-fu werepanda overcame my resistance! I also didn't get The Big Book of All Spells Ever Published Even in Dragon to mine for spells for Amaryllis, because it was $40 and that would be silly. Ken succumbed to a book of alternate wacky magic systems for D&D, which he will probably use to torment our characters.

Then there was an extended phase of sitting at the Perg reading. Ayse successfully used her research materials to determine what she wants to write her paper on.

PESTO SUSHI! And lots of other sushi, and it was all good, and followed by tempura bananas! Very round parasite!

* * *

Cats: I got out the manual face pruners and removed the largest and densest mat from Dani's fur. Now she has a big bald patch on her side, but the weather is warm enough that she probably doesn't need insulation, and it will grow back.

What she really needs is genetic modification to secrete fur conditioner from her skin, I think.

Writing: Check.

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21 April 2006 - Friday

Dead Like Me is still pretty cool. Eventually Marith and I will finish watching it and pass it on to Ayse and Ken. :)

* * *

Cats: Still pretty opaque.

Writing: check.

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20 April 2006 - Thursday

Apparently at one point I was clever enough to tell Greencine to send me all of Orphen. Oh well. It's not like it's bad.

* * *

For no very good reason, I reread Faerie Tail, my Very First Novel Ever, tonight. OMG, it is so badly written! Every sentence is bad! Every paragraph is bad! Every scene is bad! Every chapter is bad! The whole novel is bad! It has no plot! It has no characterization! It has no description! It has no themes!

Really, the best that can be said for it is that it has comparatively few errors in spelling and grammar.

That I stayed up an hour past my bedtime is probably more related to my complete lack of taste.

* * *

Cats: Orange!

Writing: check.

badness! by kit (Fri Apr 21 14:24:00 2006)

Wow, that's sure a lot of badness! It's so much badness I can't hardly remember it being quite that bad! I must have forced it out of my mind to save my sanity. :)

Re: badness! by Trip (Fri Apr 21 14:32:54 2006)

I must have forced it out of my mind to save my sanity.

You must have!

Also, apparently I reused all the same ideas for my Sun, Moon, Stars (aka the NaNoWriMo of doom).

badness by marith (Fri Apr 21 20:10:01 2006)

Wow, I don't remember it being that bad either! Wonder if I lost SAN...

I still think you should write more of the story with the creepy magic and pursuing weasels.

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19 April 2006 - Wednesday

My Dragonblooded character should have stolen the spotlight to do Bureaucracy Stuff, but the day when I talk more than Mike does will have very unusual weather patterns in imaginary places. Nevertheless, things happened, blackmail attempts were deflected, and XP were claimed.

* * *

Cats: Manicured! Despite the mythical stubbornness of cats, it only took a couple of minutes of Not Allowing Escape before each one gave up. Dani inflicted several hit points of damage during that couple of minutes, but she didn't get to roll on the Small Animal Crit table.

Now when Marmalade comes in the middle of the night to steal my breath sit on my chest and kittybread my armpit, I won't get a 2-D morse code of tiny wounds!

Writing: check.

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18 April 2006 - Tuesday

Yikes, Full Metal Doom! The antepenultimate episode has quite a plot twist at the end!

More doom in Shadow Star, but only drugs in Samurai Champloo.

* * *

Cats: Marmalade has been all unfriendly, but apparently this is because I have not been attentioning him enough. Once I let him savage some string, he became much better-pleased with me.

Writing: check.

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17 April 2006 - Monday

Ew, Monday.

* * *

Cats: Dani seems more active than before. Also, she demonstrated her opacity for Marith while we were trying to watch more Dead Like Me.

Writing: check. Meaningless milepost achieved.

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16 April 2006 - Sunday

Happy Dead-God-on-a-Stick Day.

* * *

I hadn't read Lord of Light in many years, so I reread it today. In some ways it seems very modern (mind transfers, spy bugs), but in others you can see that it was writen in 1967 (attitudes toward women). But it still rocks.

* * *

Tonight's random anime: Orphen. Enh. It's D&D-derived fantasy. Some points for possibly having the opposition be well-meaning.

* * *

Cats: So much purring!

Writing: check.

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15 April 2006 - Saturday

Yummy Thai lunch!

* * *

Because I can, I reread all of Girl Genius that's available on dead trees.

Why am I not smart like Phil Foglio?

* * *

Finished the first part of season two of Battlestar Galactica. That's a cliffhanger all right. Not sure if it's in character for Adama, though.

* * *

Cats: Dani is becoming more and more affectionate and adorable. Now she comes and sits on my lap pretty often.

Writing: check.

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14 April 2006 - Friday

Ayse and Ken have left town, so I can't give them the DVDs of Dead Like Me that Earl asked me to pass along. I guess that means Marith and I will watch them instead!

It is pretty entertaining! No spoilers, but me being me, of course I hope that George (Our Heroine, or at least protagonist) will continue to not take things for granted and find out what's behind the mysteries she keeps getting told are not for her to know.

* * *

Cats: Remarkably orange! (Obviously, since I just remarked upon it!)

Writing: check. Also guilt about not writing better stuff, but I should write back to Graydon anyway.

It's amazing by Graydon (Wed Apr 19 17:02:34 2006)

just how seldom guilt is on your side.

Have you considered a re-read of "Leaf by Niggle"?

Re: It's amazing by Trip (Thu Apr 20 15:22:48 2006)

Actually, not all that amazing.

I'm not sure I've ever read "Leaf by Niggle", although the net tells me it's about art.

it is also by Graydon (Thu Apr 20 16:34:29 2006)

about JRRT's perception of himself as an incompetent artist.

Rather like the bit of correspondence which says "all I have to do is get them to Rivendell", it's (to me, anyway) an interesting angle on how ability is perceived.

Re: it is also by Trip (Fri Apr 21 15:31:48 2006)

Ah, I see.

I was about to say that the legions of squealing fanboys might provide some objective information about competence, but then I thought about, EG, Robert Jordan. :)

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13 April 2006 - Thursday

I didn't manage to do much of anything meaningful at all today. Oh well.

* * *

Cats: Orange!

Writing: check.

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12 April 2006 - Wednesday

I successfully wrangled PG&E into reconnecting my power while I was out watching Utena. Er, the reconnection was during Utena; the wrangling was earlier. Anyway, I have electrons again, which I mostly seem to be converting into photons. At least they're photons of different wavelengths, sometimes even arranged in careful patterns!

* * *

Utena continues to plunge into the abyss of DOOOM! (We ended on the Traumatic Dissociation episode. Yeek.)

* * *

Cats: Marmalade seems to have decided that my keyboard is a good place to sit. Fortunately he doesn't mind being physically removed from spore and put into my lap.

Writing: check.

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11 April 2006 - Tuesday

Hm. PG&E seems to have shut off my electrons. I think they're on crack, because I didn't see anything like a warning notice (and they come in special envelopes, so they're pretty visible), but it doesn't seem worthwhile doing anything about it except getting them to turn it back on.

It may be sad how much of my life depends on a good supply of electricity. However, I was scheduled to use Dave's electricity tonight anyway, so it could be worse.

* * *

Only four episodes of Full Metal DOOOM left! Also, Shadow Star is spiralling into the depths.

* * *

Cats; Acting kind of weird, but I can't tell if they're upset about the change in their environment (no glowy things! No SPACE HEATER!), responding to my stress, or just being cats.

Writing: FAILURE.

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10 April 2006 - Monday

Not bad for a Monday.

* * *

Cats: Still extremely adorable!

Writing: check.

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9 April 2006 - Sunday

No gaming! Sniff! Great sadness!

I am theoretically in five games, but this seems to average out to about one game per week. Bah.

* * *

In exchange for promises of sushi, Ayse has done my taxes! Yay!

* * *

This page didn't pass W3C's validator! So I rewrote my perl, making it uglier. It does produce mostly-valid HTML 4.01-transitional, though.

I should also add search and make the archive-viewing function less sucky. But not tonight.

Instead, I watch more Battlestar Galactica.

* * *

Cats: I need to blunt my cats, so that I enjoy being kittybreaded more.

Writing: check.

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8 April 2006 - Saturday

After a long sojourn in the Tribulation of Scheduling, we have finally reconvened for Polaris!

Gaming is hard! I think I only sucked a little bit, though, rather than sucking entirely as is my wont. Neil's character was appropriately tormented by the Crying Clown, who he subsequently killed. Now my character has to save his servant, defeat the huge demon of scariness, and restore order to the city without succumbing to the temptation to restore a *better* order. Also, he must do all this before the demon he's sworn his heart to (no, he doesn't know she's a demon) leads him into DOOOM.

Unprecedentedly, we had dinner with Neil and Stacy at Chef Chu's, with Sudden Peking Duck! (Yum, duck!)

* * *

Cats: Orange!

Writing: check.

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7 April 2006 - Friday

Yay Friday!

* * *

Cats: Orange orange orange!

Writing: check.

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6 April 2006 - Thursday

Bah, Earl has cancelled Space Pirate Zeta for this fortnight! AQoJ is still Least Frequent, but SPZ is gaining. :(

* * *

Cats: Extremely orange!

Writing: check.

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5 April 2006 - Wednesday

Despite considerable uncertainty, and Ayse having to retreat to the back room to train people to do some IMPACT stuff so she wouldn't be stuck doing it all forever, we did manage to play Dragonblooded. The PCs have been drafted to help rescue the daughter of the jungle (who was probably attacked only to lure them in), but since this is happening on wood-spirit time, they were able to complete their loot-delivering/resupply run to the nearest large city. There was kind of a scuffle over which faction of the Meticulous Catalogers of the Glories of the Past would get the loot because Viraine botched a Bureacracy roll, but something like good sense eventually prevailed. Oh, and Viraine is being spied on by a Cathak Immaculate.

* * *

Cats: When I sit on the couch to read or watch video, Dani comes and perches on my bulbous abdomen and purrs pettedly. This is new, so I guess I've been forgiven for all that vet stuff.

Writing: check.

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4 April 2006 - Tuesday

Marith blew us off in favor of sleep. Just because she's allergic to rain! Hmph! So we watched anime without her, and ate Dave pizza (not made with real Daves -- does that make it mock Dave pizza?), and it was good. Hah.

* * *

Cats: Marmalade came to purrbucket me about an hour and a half before getting-up time. Sensing that I was too lethargic to resist, he pinned me down and groomed my hair extensively. Aieee.

Writing: Check.

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3 April 2006 - Monday

Work isn't bad, considering it's the first Monday of DST.

* * *

Couch Parasite! I watched two episodes of Futurama, but that wasn't enough, so then I watched some Lexx. Augh, the cheese! It burns! (Not that I expected anything else.)

* * *

Cats: Still mighty vs string!

Writing: check.

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2 April 2006 - Sunday

Yay dim sum!

Randomness didn't manage to meet up with us before we were bloated, but then we went and hung out with him at the coffeeshop (well, Ayse and Marith and Carl and I did; Ken had to banish elementals and Dave had to shop). A good time was had by all!

Eventually we trundled home and fleeped about before gathering for D&D.

* * *

Surprisingly, we did not all die! This is because Father William cleverly used the hole in the bottom of the ship (created by an invisible demon slamming our thieves' guild contact through it) to pull water up and flood the ship, which revealed the positions of the invisible demons and kept them from hitting quite so hard.

After a short break for burritos, we started going through the loot, much of which was creepy and evil and magically protected. We are pretty glad that no evil necromancers got their hands on this stuff, even if it's mostly not useful to us. (What kind of D&D characters get thousands of gp worth of magical loot and plan to burn most of it?)

* * *

Cats: Orange and adorable!

Writing: check.

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1 April 2006 - Saturday

HAPPY HAPPY CHRISBERDAY!!

* * *

No AQoJ today because Roseville is full of germs and our GM is too sick to abuse us properly! Sadness! Woe!

* * *

Today's Indie RPG: OctaNe (which I don't think is actually pronounced "octa-knee" even though it looks like it should be).

OctaNe is the game of post-apocalyptic trash-culture western America: radioactive wastelands, robot gigolos, martial-arts monkeys from the ruins of San Francisco, talking cars, heavy-metal zombies, all that shit. It has almost no rules: roll some dice, take the highest value, if it's high you get to narrate, otherwise the GM gets to narrate. If it's 5 or 6, you get some Plot Points, which you can use to buy more dice for when you have 0 dice or for when difficulty takes some of them off the top.

That, and attitude.

I'm not sure I'm cool enough to play OctaNe.

* * *

Earl abducted me to see Inside Man, which was a pretty good caper flick. It was a good plan, and how can you go wrong with Jodi Foster as a high-level fixer?

* * *

Marith and I attended Chrisber's birthday dinner, which was full of grownups but fun anyway. Mmm, tea-smoked duck.

Cats: Still orange, as I assured their former houseboy Jim.

Writing: check.

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