Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 September 2006 - Saturday

The two things I have accomplished today are eating lunch and winning steamband. Oh, and finishing the first disc of Cyberteam in Akihabara, but it wasn't that great so it probably doesn't count.

* * *

Okay, I also finished the new Pratchett, Wintersmith (in the Tiffany Aching subseries). It was pretty good, but somehow not as cool[1] as the previous ones.

[1] Ha ha.

* * *

I appear to have a month and a half (maybe more) to devise the overall shape of The Great Machine. Maybe I even will.

The ideas I want to use were already assigned to Revolutionary Mithril Angels, but I'm not running that and I am running this, so perhaps I should just go ahead and cannibalize. I'll probably have another idea someday.

* * *

Cats: Dani has taken to sitting right next to spore so I can't type on that side of the keyboard without my hand running into her butt. Since that's the side of the keyboard that has both backspace and enter, this is somewhat inconvenient. But she is SO. CUTE.

Writing: check.

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29 September 2006 - Friday

Stupid STUPID Windows creatures.

* * *

Books finished today: Night Watch, from which the recent movie was adapted. It was very Russian, or so it seemed to me (like I know from Russia), but good. As other people have said, it would make a good game setting.

I think the Light is doomed by ecology, though.

* * *

Saiyuki Reload just isn't very good, is it? We seem to have gotten back to a plot, though.

* * *

Cats: Orange and orange!

Writing: check.

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28 September 2006 - Thursday

I am not skilled enough to discern the true bletchery of MAPI and OLE, but it's not letting me find out what Exchange server it's using, and that's annoying enough for now.

* * *

I so miss Google with its free snacks! At nVidia, you can only get snacks if you have the correct change, which I don't.

Thus enhungricated, I went to the Mexican place that is across the street from Bangkok Spoon (Fiesta Del Mar Dos?) and had something orange and spicy and creamy with chicken in. Yum!

* * *

I weakly succumbed to the lure of having shirts that don't say Google art and ordered some more Ursula shirts. Hopefully I am not making a terrible mistake.

* * *

Cats: I'm not sure if they're glad to have me home or not. Dani comes and sits next to me, but Marmalade is still standoffish.

Writing: check.

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27 September 2006 - Wednesday

Despite some confusion as to when we were starting anime, we did eventually watch a few episodes of The Twelve Kingdoms. Still very cool, although with plenty of imminent doom.

Yay Aysehugs!

* * *

Cats: They are happy that I have brought them food!

Writing: check.

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26 September 2006 - Tuesday

Stupid STUPID Windows creature! If you were not perpetually virus-ridden, you would not have to prevent all scripts from automatically sending mail in order to maintain your thin veneer of apparent functionality!

Bah.

* * *

Neil only stopped by anime long enough to get catch-up discs, but he hopes to join us next week.

Princess Tutu: so much doom!

Bleach: so much violence! and doom!

Otogi Zoshi: so much weirdness! and doom!

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: so much weirdness! and more weirdness! (They do not understand this Terran concept of "linear time". I wonder if Ray likes it.)

* * *

I appear to have succumbed to the siren song of ecommerce and not only ordered three space parasite shirts but also 25 items from Right Stuf's 25 things for $100 sale and my usual 0.2μHz order from Robert's Anime Corner Store. All of Full Metal Alchemist! All of Ghost in the Shell: Longest Anime Title Ever: Second Season! Gankutsuuo! Melody of Oblivion! Requiem from the Darkness! Gad Guard! Much of it for only $4 per disc! Muahahahaha!

* * *

Cats: Orange levels nominal!

Writing: check!

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25 September 2006 - Monday

Oh, bugger. The first thing I saw when I logged on this morning was that John M Ford has died. I didn't know him or anything, but he wrote "Troy, the Movie", which was a work of genius, and he was on the list of Making Light commenters whose posts I never skimmed past.

* * *

If only I could do stuff like Rob Donoghue discusses here and here, The Great Machine would suck much less.

* * *

Spent much of today waiting for a Windows box do use for development, interrupted by dim sum.

* * *

I finally got around to watching more Deadwood. Many of the characters need to be shot and most of the rest need serious therapy, which leads me to believe it's an accurate depiction of the past. (Er, not to imply that things are much better now, except in a few localized areas.)

* * *

It must be mine!

* * *

Cats: Dani is hiding a grocery bag again! No matter how often she does that, it's still SO CUTE!

Writing: check.

cats & prints by kit (Wed Sep 27 06:28:22 2006)

Ooh! That is SO COOL that you're getting a space parasite t-shirt! I've been trying to figure out what to get...

Zilli is hiding in a bag, too. It also continues to be appallingly cute. :)

Re: cats & prints by Trip (Wed Sep 27 10:19:37 2006)

In fact, I am getting three space parasite shirts, because nothing exceeds like excess! If I fail to resist, I might have to get a Subconscious Chupacabra shirt too.

It's too bad Marmalade doesn't lurk in bags very much, but I guess he has his Linen Closet of Solitude.

t-shirts by kit (Thu Sep 28 12:34:18 2006)

I was in fact hoping you'd have the presence of mind to get more than one. :) I'm trying to decide if I need a Sea Serpent & Sock Puppet t-shirt...

Mike and Shirts by liralen (Thu Sep 28 14:03:11 2006)

It is sad about losing John M. Ford. Sniffle.

Yay! Shirts! I got three, but only one for myself, sniff. But it was the demon bunny, so I had to. I got the crow totem for someone who has such a totem and I got the Toadback Road for John just because. grin

I'm so glad you got three of the Parasite for yourself!! I was hoping you would when I posted the shirt info. grin I probably should have written you directly, too, and gotten a camel shirt for Marith, but so it is.

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24 September 2006 - Sunday

Jeremy was unable to face the prospect of another session of The Great Machine, but Earl, Dave, and Chrisber were good enough sports to show up. (Technically, I showed up and Earl didn't, because we gamed at his and Cat's place, but they let me in when I knocked, so that probably counts.)

Earl's character is a homicidal loon. Chrisber's character lights riding lizards on fire, but only professionally. Dave's character is still inert. Also, dinosaur ghosts. (Details intentionally left vague so the players can try to explain the situation to Jeremy if he shows up next session.)

I did manage to hand out hero points, and sometimes even record that I was doing so, and the conflict rules were used, so it was almost like gaming with a system instead of the GM pulling everything out of his hat.

* * *

I meant to watch Deadwood or Dr Who or something, but instead I mostly played steamband. It sucks to have your low-level spellbooks destroyed and not find replacements in the shops for hundreds and thousands of turns.

* * *

Cats: Miau!

Writing: check.

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23 September 2006 - Saturday

Nothing really happened today, so I read my shipment of indie games, and also some books.

  • House of Chains (Steven Erikson) is the fourth book in his series, and like the previous ones is large enough to stun a moose. Many people die, some people don't die, some gods die, some plot lines are resolved. If you liked the previous ones, you'll like this one too.
  • The Last Days (Scott Westerfeld): Sequel to Peeps, the characters of which show up in minor roles. Although the events of the book are exciting, they follow pretty directly from what's known at the end of the previous book, so although it's kind of cool to have new characters try to figure things out, not enough new is revealed to the reader. I remain deeply suspicious about the ecology of [spoiler].
  • Harbingers (F Paul Wilson), the latest Repairman Jack novel, in which Jack's life continues to be ruined and it is demonstrated that the [spoiler] really isn't good.
  • Shooting the Moon by the same person (Emily Care Boss) who did Breaking the Ice, is about romantic rivalry. It can be played with either 2 (NPC beloved) or 3 (PC beloved), but in either case two suitors compete for the affections of one other character, each over obstacles devised by the opposing player. In the 3-player version, the beloved has a dream or goal as well, which may or may not be reached.
  • Drowning & Falling (Jason Morningstar) is just weird. It's sort of like the D&D genre, except that every encounter holds the threat of either drowning or falling and monsters just hamper the PCs' avoid falling/drowning rolls. These hazards can be metaphorical (drowning in sorrow, falling in love), but are mandatory. Encounters are created using playing cards. I dunno. It's just wierd.
  • Primitive (Kevin Allen Jr) is a tiny (maybe 10×15cm?) handmade book, which is as much in keeping with its presapient setting as anything with words can be. It is in fact not allowed for the players to communicate in words: grunts, arm-waving, and cards with pictures of props are all you get. Otherwise, it's a fairly straightforward simple system.
  • The Dictionary of Mu (Judd Karlman) rocks. It's a setting for Sorcerer, done as a dictionary written by a crazed hermit who is deeply suspicious of words. The setting is (like) dying Mars, with empty sea beds, strange peoples, cities with peculiar and barbaric customs, and deeply unsavory ancient magics known as "maths". Escape to Urt or some other habitable world is a definite theme. Demons are things which have died or are dying: lost knowledge, areas now desolate, even the planet itself. Carl pointed me to a writeup of a Dictionary of Mu game, although as it turns out my copy was already en route.
  • Under the Bed (Joshua A C Newman) is another strange form-factor game, which comes in the form of a deck of cards plus a booklet the same size. The cards are characteristics (violent, gentle, smart, stupid, stubborn, flexible, ...) for the PC toys to have or get as they work to help their child. Popularity with the child is also important, of course. (Does this sound familiar, Carl? Maybe some brain-eating is in order...)
  • Cold City (Malcolm Craig) doesn't cite Stross's The Atrocity Archives as an influence, which must mean the author has been living in a cave for the past few years, because, well, Nazi magitech summoning extradimensional monsters to haunt the subways of Berlin in 1950 while the Americans, Russians, British, French, and Germans all try to steal or supress it! The system uses Sorcerer's dice mechanics, and a trust mechanic that might be like The Mountain Witch, but is otherwise pretty straightforward.
  • Shock: Social Science Fiction (Joshua A C Newman) is pretty much what it says. The setup for a game involves picking a social theme (colonialism, love, corporate ownership, religion, surveillance, conformity, ...) and then applying some SF elements, here called "shocks": mind swapping, androids, genetic engineering, alien invasion, everybody dies at 21, ... Each player has a protagonist, and the player to hir left plays the antagonist (which need not be a person). Then there's a confusing mechanic involving d10s to try to force the opposition to act in accordance with one side of an opposed pair of principles, and d4s to shift the d10 results to avoid that. I suspect it might make more sense in play.

Sadly, I will probably never get to play any of these games, but perhaps I can mine the ideas for other stuff.

* * *

Aside from the bad multiple-personality stuff, Sprite was okay 90s anime smut. Not sure why I requested it, but whatever.

* * *

Cats: So orange!

Writing: check.

Familiarity breeds Content by Carl (Mon Sep 25 22:29:10 2006)

I do sort of want to run The Great Rescue using Under the Bed someday, instead of the Amber/Feng Shui cross I was using. ("Little Judy is kidnapped by goblins and her faithful toys must rescue her, sailing across the ovaltine sea to the Isle of Lost Toys.")

But I suppose first I should use Under the Bed to run Shadowrun, as is my way. Hey, if a murdered woman's PDA can hire Shadowrunners to investigate her death, can "Hire Me Elmo" really be too far a stretch?

Chrisber expressed interest in Cold City but I have to read The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue first.

Re: Familiarity breeds Content by Trip (Tue Sep 26 09:52:53 2006)

I do sort of want to run The Great Rescue using Under the Bed someday...

There probably isn't much gaming at Orycon, is there?

Chrisber expressed interest in Cold City but I have to read The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue first.

Is The Jennifer Morgue even out yet? But you should definitely read The Atrocity Archives!

Re: Familiarity breeds Con Intent by Carl (Tue Sep 26 20:03:12 2006)

There probably isn't much gaming at Orycon, is there?

Probably no more than a sad open gaming room tucked in an unused corner. On the other hand, I only ran one game of Dogs at Gen Con SoCal last year so it's not like it had much indie gaming either.

The Jennifer Morgue comes out November 1st (along with Absolute Sandman 1) so I'll have to console myself with Gaiman's Fragile Things that just came out. I don't know how well that would inspire a game of Cold City, though.

In anime news, Gankutsuou: Count of Monte Cristo and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig are now completely out.

Re: Familiarity breeds Con Intent by Trip (Wed Sep 27 10:11:35 2006)

In anime news, Gankutsuou: Count of Monte Cristo and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig are now completely out.

And a good thing, too or I wouldn't have been able to order them!

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22 September 2006 - Friday

HAPPY HAPPY GENIDAY!!

HAPPY HAPPY MERLINDAY!!

* * *

Ah, the fun of Windows. Fortunately all I have to do (I hope) is write a perl script and use perl2exe to convert it into an executable for people to download and run. Little, if any, OS interaction required.

* * *

Today we(ADKMT + Carl) initiate the Feasting on Castro project! We started at the first restaurant on the right as we imagined standing on the train tracks, which is Hunan Chili. The service was a bit slow and erratic, but the food was good. Or perhaps it's better to say that it was of good quality, since not every dish was to everyone's taste. But that's the risk one runs when ordering new dishes at a new restaurant! Anyway, the sizzling rice soup, garlic sugar pea leaves, green onion pancakes, and dry sauteed string beans were universally approved of.

When full of, overall, pretty good Chinese food, we fought our way through the hordes to get gelato, then scuttled back to Dave's so Carl could teach Dave and Ken to play Mechaton (mecha minatures battles with Lego!) and Ayse and Marith and I could flopread.

Yay us!

* * *

Cats: Glad to see me, since I was gone from about 8:30 to 23:00!

Writing: check.

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21 September 2006 - Thursday

Workingu workingu la la la.

Now I want to watch Tennimon again. I wish they'd hurry up and finish releasing it on DVD.

* * *

Amarin Thai on Castro Street has gotten fancier and more expensive since I used to eat there regularly many years ago. Still pretty tasty, though.

* * *

Gantz turns out to be one of those series that thinks explanations are for wimps. The end of the last episode implies that it might be <rot13>na bpphenapr ng Bjy Perrx fhojnl fgngvba</rot13>, which I suppose would make further explanation unnecessary if true, but it's not entirely clear.

* * *

Cats: While I was watching TV, Marmalade came to sprawl on my bloated abdomen and purrbucket me. Dani perched on the back of the couch looking sad and finally wandered away when Marmalade showed no signs of moving. (I didn't want to dislodge him because he almost never purrbuckets me any more, while Dani sits on or near most of the time I'm home. And indeed, as soon as Marmalade gave up his position, there was a Dani!)

Writing: check.

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20 September 2006 - Wednesday

Back to talking like a landlubber!

* * *

I think the second weasel is mostly done. Lost much of today tearing down my test hardware and setting it back up someplace noisier, but almost done with that.

Taos has found me another assignment for after this one, so I do not need to worry about dying in the gutter just yet. Yay!

* * *

It's a long ways from the train station to the comics store. This seems poorly thought out. Don't transit planners know what's really important?

On the other hand, the walk gave me time to finish devising the shape of the doom of the PCs in The Great Machine, so muahahahaha.

* * *

No Dragon-Blooded this week, since Ken just had his wisdom teeth out. I figured our best chance of victory would be when the GM was out of his skull on vicodan, but apparently he's not far enough out of his skull that he didn't figure that out first. Curses!

* * *

I don't seem to have accomplished anything tonight except laundry. And getting my steamband character a wraithform artifact. So much anime to watch!

* * *

Cats: So orange and furry!

Writing: check.

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19 September 2006 - Tuesday

Arrr, ye scurvy dogs! It be Talk Like a Pirate Day!

'tis a fine day for bloodshed.

* * *

Aye, those Caltrain bilge rats knew what was good for 'em today, an' had th' longboat waitin' as soon I were down th' gangplank! I'll not be keelhaulin' them jus' yet.

* * *

Arr! I sank them subprocesses to Davy Jone's bit bucket, scupper me if I didn't! Now avast, ye lubberly perl modules! Ye won't be escapin' me clutches much longer! Th' treasure of the Cisco routers will be mine!

* * *

This here week, we started new plot arrrcs in Princess Tutu and Otogi Zoshi, and in Bleach we saw why me buxom beauty Orihime be th' finest wench who e'er swabbed a deck wi' a death god's face! Some landlubber was wavin' the electric signal flags all evenin', so our ration o' The Melancholy o' Haruhi Suzumiya were cut, blow me down if it weren't!

* * *

Cats: Ahoy, me little orange beauty! Avast, ye bloody great orange scoundrel! Carefully as she goes, or we'll be seein' if there's room in 'ere!

Writing: Yarrrr.

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18 September 2006 - Monday

I suffered a catastrophic tranist failure this morning and had to walk from Lawrence to San Tomas. Oof. It was very embarrassing, and also lateful.

Other than that, work is okayish. My processes won't die, but I'm sure as soon as I stop being stupid, I will understand why.

* * *

I couldn't stay late because I had to meet a Taos person to discuss what sort of brains I should eat in order to best absorb the economy of this miniscule planet muahahahaha!

Brains containing tomcat, a backup system, more DNS, more exim/qmail/postfix, and maybe some SAN skills, seem to be recommended.

* * *

Mmm, Bangkok Spoon. Roasted duck. Too bad the chicken larb is gratuitously spicy, because it tastes good when my tongue is not dead!

* * *

Cats: Dani is drinking a lot of water. I hope this isn't a bad sign. I should probably take her to the vet just in case.

Writing: check.

Compressed Brains by Carl (Tue Sep 19 09:18:07 2006)

There's an excellent O'Reilly book on Postfix out. And for that matter, on backups, DNS (plus a much slimmer cookbook of canned solutions), and Tomcat, whatever that is. Some people seem to prefer Apress' "Pro DNS and BIND" by Ron Aitchison, which I haven't read yet, but their "Hardening Apache" and "Hardening Linux" books in that series were very fine. If you do get the O'Reilly "DNS and Bind" make sure it's the 5th edition so it covers 9.3.

Does the SAN you save by not using sendmail count as a skill?

And lastly, perhaps you could apply the chicken larb to your processes to kill them.

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17 September 2006 - Sunday

Lethargic and slimy!

* * *

Ack, end of Farscape season two!

* * *

Cats: Marmalade voluntarily came and sat on me for a bit! It must be getting cooler.

Writing: check.

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16 September 2006 - Saturday

I stayed in bed forever, reading The Crooked Letter (Sean Williams), a pretty good fantasy about a very peculiar cosmology. Then I went and ate In'n'Out burgers and bought cat litter and a new collar for Marmalade. Then I vegetated some more.

* * *

Marith and I went with Ayse and Ken to the housewarming party of Ayse's friend Saori and Saori's husband Takashi and feasted upon Japanese home cooking! We started with mashed kobocha squash with pumpkin(?) seeds, fish cake that I actually liked (I'm usually not a big fan), mysterious Japanese greens with buttermilk dressing and radishes, and light conversation. Some beer was consumed by Ken, Saori, and Takahashi, and then some sake, so by the time we got to the salmon rice with ikura (salmon roe) and then the pieces of salmon with yuzu soy sauce and grated daikon, there may have been some amount of silliness. (I couldn't get a good look at the salmon, but apparently it was the head, which may explain why some of the bits I got looked like regular fish, not like salmon.)

Ayse and Marith practiced their Japanese, and Saori and Takashi practiced their English, but the silliness was in no way impaired.

After clearing up a bit, we retired to the living room and admired pictures from Saori's dig in Uzbekistan, ate ice cream with blueberries and powdered tea, and drank tea/coffee and were even sillier. Cats may have been involved. (They are very fine cats, almost as wonderful as Dani and Marmalade.) Finally we had to go home, but Ayse pronounced herself excellently distracted from her impending class.

All the food was wonderful, and the company was very nice, and hardly anyone died at all!

* * *

Marmalade still has his collar on, and Dani is still a cutie!

Writing: check.

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15 September 2006 - Friday

Victory! Or at least V-I-C, since I have made the script do its thing via the web interface. I should probably test it more before declaring it done.

On a related note, I hate SNMP. A lot. It's not the 1960s! Computers can handle text! They can search databases! Geez!

* * *

Cats: Marmalade has managed to tear off his collar, and Dani has poopy butt again.

Writing: check.

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14 September 2006 - Thursday

Earl and Cat gave me a lift to work this morning, because they work only a few blocks away from nVIDIA, and they are swell people.

* * *

Now I drive my enemies before me and hear the lamentations of their inodes! Okay, not really, but I did set the thingamajig going before I scuttled home, because it is complete enough to do that. Much of the web interface, unsightly as it may be, is also written.

* * *

Hey, cool, I don't have to go anywhere to watch TV tonight! I can lurk in the comfort of my own lair and... watch TV, apparently. But it really is different!

* * *

Now I will write about the things I read earlier this week, although they don't seem quite as exciting now.

Vellum (Hal Duncan) is fantasy, but weird and with a not-entirely-fantasy vibe. Multiple versions of Sumerian myths, a strange infinite world, nanotech made by angels, freakiness. I think I recommend it, although I can't guarantee that there is substance beneath the freakiness. Note that it is the first half of a duology.

Agon (John Harper) is a game of Greek heroes wandering around Mediterranean islands being given quests by the gods. It is explicitly competitive, but only between players; the GM's role is to make them all suffer. The GM does have a budget, though, which hopefully makes the suffering survivable so that the characters can gain glory, become cooler, and eventually meet their fates, leaving the players with more points to build future characters.

Cool bits: If you help another character, they owe you an oath, which you can use to make them help you once later. (Before regular play, there's a prologue thing in which every character has to interact with each of the others in turn and end up either getting or giving an oath.) Also, Characters have to have descriptors like "Strong-Limbed", "Fleet-Footed", or "Wise-Eyed". Sadly there's only a fairly short list in the book, but making up new ones shouldn't be hard.

The combat system is kind of weird, with range bands and weapons that only function effectively at certain ranges and the ability to move either yourself or someone else one range band per round. It's pretty abstract, but seems like it should work.

And, of course, I must mention The Princes' Kingdom (Clinton R Nixon). It is a pretty good adaptation of Dogs in the Vineyard for kids, nicely simplified in the mechanics. The tone might sound a little too much like a grownup talking to kids, but that's a minor issue.

It is, as discussed in the 20' by 20' Room, very boy-oriented. Also, what's with this monarchy thing? Sure, it's a fairly benevolent and light monarchy, but still. Is "The king is always right" really what we want the next generation to learn?

* * *

Cats: Apparently happy to have me home, although I'm still not sure exactly what sort of attention Marmalade wants.

Writing: check.

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13 September 2006 - Wednesday

Less operating system excitement today, but I wrote most of the logic for the script I'm working on anyway, and beat samba into submission. That's like progress.

* * *

Yay Twelve Kingdoms! Coolest kirin ever!

* * *

Cats: Miffed that I'm never home.

Writing: check.

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12 September 2006 - Tuesday

I successfully rode the bus to the light rail station, rode the light rail to the bus stop, and road the bus to not far from nVIDIA. Then there was confusion about where I should show up, but I was early, so it was sorted out okay. Then I spent the rest of the day trying to get a working computer with a working Gentoo installation, which would have gone better if I were smarter.

Once I have some machines to abuse, I will be writing scripts to shuffle data from yon to hither, or maybe vice versa, because that's pretty much what one does with scripts.

* * *

I had to flee to try to catch a bus before the latest install finished, but I think I avoided the dumbass mistakes I made on the other ones.

* * *

I was only a little late to anime, but there was a lot of scuttling involved.

Otogi Zoshi was surprisingly less doomed than we expected! But there's still a whole second plot arc for additional doom.

In Bleach, we finally got to see more of Yoruichi! Princess Tutu appears to be at a climax, but we're only half-way through. Presumably after next episode's showdown, it gets weird.

We thought we missed an episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but Dave looked it up and no, that was the real episode 4. Judging by episode 5, it was a flash-forward, but it's possible the remaining 9 episodes will not be sufficiently linear to make that term meaningful.

* * *

Cats: Horribly neglected! Just ask them!

Writing: check.

Nvidia by Al (Wed Sep 13 11:19:34 2006)

We should have lunch, since you're here and all. Where are you and which department? You don't appear to have registered on nvidia email.

Re: Nvidia by Trip (Wed Sep 13 12:59:45 2006)

I'm in the labyrinth of building E, with the networking guys. I'm not sure I've been entered in any database, since my badge still says "visitor".

Sure, there should be lunch on some day when I don't have to scuttle home to make it in time for something! Maybe Thursday.

HaruSuzu by Carl (Thu Sep 14 01:11:08 2006)

Haruhi Suzumiya Episode Timeline last two columns shows the mapping, or don't peek and work things out as you go along!

Re: HaruSuzu by Dave (Thu Sep 14 10:36:44 2006)

No peeking!

Lunch today? by Al (Thu Sep 14 11:23:22 2006)

I don't know any other way to contact you while you're here except through your blog... where in the bowels of building E are you?

Re: Lunch today? by Al (Thu Sep 14 11:36:57 2006)

Call my cellphone (916-955-9075) if you get this message.

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11 September 2006 - Monday

Got up all early to pester people about the nViDiA thing, but no response until I was too awake to go back to bed, at which point I learned that the client company is not yet prepared to accomodate my awesomeness, and would rather I start tomorrow. Well, at least I know!

* * *

Finally extracted where/when/who information, so I can hopefully show up in good order tomorrow.

* * *

Cats: Dani is in a bag!

Writing: check.

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10 September 2006 - Sunday

For whatever reason, no one came up with another game to play in time to prevent me from running The Great Machine, so they got what they deserved.

No one actually had to flee screaming from the gaming room (possibly because the Rachel-cookies commanded their attendance), but there was clearly Insufficient Fun. Too much industry, not enough chandeliers, no interesting NPCs, the works.

Now I will hide under my rock.

* * *

From under my rock, I think I need to do the following things differently next fortnight:

  • Bring SAN counters or something for hero points
  • Hand out hero points
  • Write out NPCs in some fashion that permits easy lookup of target numbers and easy checkoff of damage/failure ranks
  • Use the complicated situation and conflict rules
  • Come up with guidelines for rebuilding locomotives into ground-pounding engines
  • More chandeliers, less industrial economics

Oh, and not suck.

* * *

Still no word on the nViDiA thing that's supposed to be starting tomorrow. Argh.

* * *

Melody of Oblivion is sort of like Kino's Journey, only with more energy blasts.

* * *

Cats: So cute!

Writing: check.

The Great Machine by Dave (Mon Sep 11 10:56:11 2006)

I thought it went pretty well, given that it's a new system, new genre, with new characters. It's easy to start up a new D&D or Hero game, simply because we're all so familiar with the system and setting, but things like this take a while longer for everyone to figure out how it all goes together. Of course, it didn't help me personally in that I currently have very little brain myself, since I've been experimenting with not exercising regularly. But I have a much better idea of how exercise relates to mental functioning, now. ;)

Re: The Great Machine by Trip (Mon Sep 11 13:02:00 2006)

Experimenting on yourself is definitely in genre!

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9 September 2006 - Saturday

Another blah day.

* * *

Cats: So much purr-bucketing!

Writing: check.

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8 September 2006 - Friday

I guess if I'm going to run The Great Machine on Sunday, I should come up with an adventure or something.

* * *

I guess that's like an adventure. Still no brain.

* * *

Cats: For no apparent reason, Dani had the pink tip of her tongue sticking out for a few minutes. It was extraordinarily silly-looking, but also adorable. Cats are like that.

Writing: check.

cat tongues by kit (Sun Sep 10 06:42:12 2006)

I love it when cats do that. It's so very very silly. And cute. :) :) :)

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7 September 2006 - Thursday

Comics! But no time to read them since I had to scuttle to Taos.

* * *

Apparently I have a one-week or so assignment at nViDiA next week, to do scripting stuff. Perhaps eventually I will even get information about when and where to show up and who to talk to.

* * *

Still no brain.

* * *

Cats: So orange! And adorable!

Writing: check.

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6 September 2006 - Wednesday

No new comics today, because Monday was a holiday! Sniff!

Once again, nothing accomplished.

* * *

I thought Ken was dead, but apparently he wasn't, so we played Dragon-Blooded after all. We spent the entire session finding a First Age hardware and garden supply store so that we could loot window-patching material. Ah, the exciting life of an adventurer.

* * *

Cats: Orange as ever!

Writing: check.

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5 September 2006 - Tuesday

Went in to Taos, but no assignments materialized. Failed to concentrate on anything in the lab, because I have no brain. I should have a brain, since I have brain pills, but apparently they are not taking proper effect.

* * *

Yay anime! Doom for everyone! But Otogi Zoshi has the most doom.

* * *

Cats: still orange!

Writing: check.

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4 September 2006 - Monday

Nothing accomplished today. But it's a holiday.

* * *

Cats: Orange!

Writing: check.

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3 September 2006 - Sunday

All Civ, all the time! We started right after breakfast and played through until dinner. Civ being Civ, we weren't actually done then, but we were able to determine that Ken (abetted by Al, who had attacked Ayse the previous turn) was the winner by like 20 points. Marith and I, who are kind of lame, and Dave, who got calamitized down to 0-2 city for a couple of turns when everyone else was at 7-9, were 8-900 points back, and Al and Sherilyn were somewhere between.

It was probably a mistake to use the expansion board for only seven players, since there were several turns where there were four pirate cities and most of the players still had seven or more cities. I kept almost the same borders from the end of the free expansion phase to the end of the game, which is clearly not right. Next time, more bloodshed!

* * *

Al and Sherilyn lured us to dinner and Mikuni, which is sort of a sushi sports bar. It was loud, but five of us got a HUGE BOAT OF SUSHI which was boarded and thoroughly pillaged, so that was okay! (I'm not sure what most of the rolls were, but they were tasty.)

Then we scuttled back home like sardines.

* * *

Cats: Okay! They weren't very affectionate, so I think they're miffed, but I can't say I don't deserve it.

Writing: VACATION

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2 September 2006 - Saturday

Perhaps I was a slug, but I was still up well before the earliest time slot in the betting pool for when Harold and Dave would arrive, so it's all okay.

As it turned out, Harold and Dave arrived well after the last claimed slot in the betting pool, because they did not cleverly avoid traffic. No 100XP for any of us!

* * *

Amazon Sextet of Justice XIa: "Onto the Plane, But Not Into the Snakes!"

Although it seems likely that the snake-engraved planar key obtained from the blue dragon's lair is the correct one, the Amazons are loathe to use it until this has been verified. This will also give them time to gear up for the raid on an entire universe full of necrotheologic snake-monsters.

While Amaryllis is busy converting the dragon's hoard into magic items and cash, Fresa hunts down her pet dwarven scholar, Stephan, and tries to get an introduction to someone who knows about planar keys. The academic she meets reacts strongly to the key in conjunction with the prophecy of Avalon, though, precipitating a minor scuffle. Gabrielle uses her vast diplomatic skills to smooth things over, though, and it is confirmed that the key will lead to a plane created by the Dead God for its snakey minions.

At last, Fresa casts the spell, and the Amazons are transported to a dark cave with cracked and creviced walls suitable for serpents of all sizes to creep about in. A couple of snakes immediately pounce, but are quickly dispatched, being only beasts.

Amaryllis seals the crevices leading into a defensible nook so Our Heroines can hole up while Fresa works the magic to find Queen Ditte. Some rather tough and excessively large rodents attempt to interrupt, but with little more success than the snakes earlier. There some is concern about what sort of snakes would feed upon man-sized rats that resist energy attacks!

Once Fresa is finished, the Sextet teleports to the dungeons beneath the main temple of the necrotheologians and begins tracking down the queen. Fresa's spell guides them past some traps, but soon they come to a place where the entire floor is dangerous. To get past this point, almost everyone has to be closed in the pocket dimension while Amaryllis and Alyra fly across on the feather-boat they obtained from the dragon. This means that when the nagas and yuan-ti pounce, the odds are six to two.

With one of the nagas throwing fireballs and acid arrows, things look bad, but Amaryllis is able to get the feather-boat out over the trap, where the monsters can't follow, and open the pocket dimension so that Gabrielle and Natalya can shoot out and Marika can make a tremendous leap to engage the monsters hand-to-hand. Despite a fierce struggle, two of the snake-creatures are slain and the rest flee into the darkness.

Before the snakes can return with reinforcements, the Amazons hurry along in the direction indicated by the spell, but suddenly Marika, on rear guard, realizes someone is following them! She confronts the skulker, who turns out to be a drow of unusual appeal, and when he fails to promptly respond to her demands for information, uses a grappling style of martial arts against him. The others, feeling left out, join in the interrogation, and learn that their prisoner is Samel, son of Jacque, and brother to Daniel, the drow paladin they met previously.

It turns out that Daniel and his followers also wanted to rescue Queen Ditte, but their jury-rigged method of interdimensional travel exploded and Samel has no idea where his companions ended up. He wasn't even sure that he was on the right plane until he encountered the Amazons. At Amaryllis's and Natalya's insistence, and despite Marika's distrust of drow, Samel joins the party.

* * *

Harold had to flee back toward Palo Alto then, so we broke there.

I am sad that D&D involves so much careful shopping, or perhaps that I'm a huge spaz and can't get people organized, but that is not Sherilyn's fault at all!

* * *

In accordance with the Master Plan, we then broke out Advanced Civ in honor of Ken's birthday, and played the first three or four turns, until the complexity of the game exceeded the complexity of our brains.

* * *

Cats: I hope they are okay! I have never left them alone this long before!

Writing: VACATION

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1 September 2006 - Friday

Yay, laundry. Yay, food. Yay, packing. Yay, spazzing.

* * *

Exalted 2nd ed gave me an idea for a different initiative system for Antihero. Like in E2, the clock counts always up from phase 0 until the fight is over. Each character first acts on a phase determined by a Dex+Int roll, or something like that. Taking an action, any action, increases your next phase by 5, unless you have specifically bought down the phases of that particular maneuver. Although it's tempting to make this work like skill levels, that's probably a bad idea. If nothing else, the cost should increase dramatically for each additional -1 phase, rather than being linear, and the speedup probably should be bought on a strict per-maneuver basis; buying -2 phases for All Combat seems wrong.

* * *

Ken fed us pizza and showed us the first two episodes of News Radio to prepare us for Roseville. Now we zoom.

* * *

Traffic was remarkably light for the Friday before a long weekend. Apparently 21:00 was the correct time to leave.

* * *

Cats: I hope they will be okay! :(

Writing: VACATION

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