Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 July 2011 - Sunday

Work: No work today!

Social Entertainments: I trundled over to Jeremy and Rachel's for Rachel's birthday party and encountered many people, many of whom I had encountered before. I did not partake of the Chocolate Cake of Death, but tried a bit of the strawberry-rhubarb pie, which was pretty good.

Gaming: No D&D, birthday party instead. And apparently no D&D next weekend or the weekend after. Gaming with grown-ups is hard.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia has pretty much used up the fun around Westguard Keep, so it's time to move to Wildevar Fort or whatever it's called. The one with the guy who tricks you into jumping into an ice-cold lake to shake weeds until vicious fish come out.

Cats: Oh no, there is a Paws Gap! Earl and Cat now have sixteen paws! (But the ones here are more adorable.)

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30 July 2011 - Saturday

Work: Had to help some people from the Corporate Overlords set up a thing to do a thing, which took time but was not really onerous.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia is now level 75, so she can be Illustrious Grandmaster of Mining and Jewelcrafting! And, with the jewelcrafting daily in Dalaran, she can eventually get even more exciting designs!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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29 July 2011 - Friday

Work: At least this weekend I'm scheduled to be on call, instead of it being surprise bonus on-call.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Check.

Cats: Twelve adorable paws!

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28 July 2011 - Thursday

Work: Check.

Gaming: No Mike, so no Earthdawn. Also, extra dining, so no board games. In fact, no gaming of any kind.

Textual Entertainments: Carmilla (J Sheridan LeFanu) is one of the early Victorian vampire novels, from 1872. It has much less plot than I expected, but so early in the genre, only the basics were necessary: mysterious female visitor to a remote schloss, beautiful and well-born maiden, mysterious deaths and wasting sickness, horrible discovery, saving of the day.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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27 July 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Bleah, had to stay late to help a customer. Fortunately he had to log out, or I would probably be there still.

Textual Entertainments: Heartless, fourth in the "Parasol Protectorate" series by Gail Carriger, is just as silly as the previous three, but this time <rot13>gur yrfovna znq fpvragvfg unf n tvnag zrpunavpny bpgbchf</rot13>.

Cats: Talkative cat has many things to say!

Parasols by Jeremy (Fri Jul 29 21:26:59 2011)

I'd say they're more frothy than silly. An important distinction, don't you think?

Re: Parasols by Trip (Mon Aug 1 08:15:47 2011)

I see you have not read these books.

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26 July 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Brain still too small.

Textual Entertainments: The Fallen Blade (John Courtenay Grimwood) is first in a planned trilogy about an alternate Venice with all the intrigue, most of the squalor, too many werewolves, something similar to a vampire, and magic that ranges from trivial to overwhelming. I'm not sure how this can end well for any of the major characters, but they have two more books to dig themselves out.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Clannad After Story 4: Sunohara is a huge git, but I still feel a bit sorry for him.
  • Kiddy Grade Ignition (movie 1): Mostly a recap of the first chunk of the series, up through the planet of Conservative Bastards. I don't remember that many upskirt shorts in the series, but they were probably there.
  • Durarara!! 22-23: Man, that guy sucks. (You know the one I mean.) But, despite the drama, Izaya has finally brought all three forces to the point of collision. Someone is definitely doomed now!

Cats: So fuzzy!

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25 July 2011 - Monday

Work: Brain too small.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: The pirate-bombing quest at West Monkeytown is kind of a pain because there's nowhere you can stand on the zeppelin to have a good view of the targets. The port-side boarding point seems to be least inconvenient, but some of the pirate ships pass to starboard.

Cats: Miau miau miau!

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24 July 2011 - Sunday

Gaming: Adam couldn't make it because he had to do grant paperwork science, so rather than have the PCs do the huge battle without their psychotic dwarf, I jumped them ahead to where they had already lost and the resulting catastrophe was in the process of becoming real. Can they stop the Domain of Dread from forming? Dun-dun-DUNN!

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia wandered over to the second town in Howling Fjord, West Something-or-other, and did a bunch of quests around there. The plot with the deranged miners and their creepy rocks had potential, but didn't seem to go anywhere.

Cats: Still twelve paws!

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23 July 2011 - Saturday

Food: Bacon! French toast! Death!

Gaming: D&D fail, because I suck. People who were not me played Race for the Galaxy instead, and a good time was had by all who do not suck.

Work: Surprise double-secret on-call because no one will admit that people twelve hours out of phase with all our customers can't effectively be on call. It was just annoying and time-consuming to solve, not actually very difficult, but that was time that I had hoped to use going to see Macbeth.

Theatrical Entertainments: HUGE FAIL. Although I later heard that it was not so great anyway.

Textual Entertainments: The other Campbell Award nominee who has a novel in the Hugo packet is Lev Grossman. His short story "Endgame" had very glossy, pointy magic, so I expected The Magicians to be similiar. Instead, it was Harry Potter + Narnia + untreated mood and stress disorders. The magic did feel reasonably magical, which is hard to do when the view-point character is a magician, so points for that. However, it was pretty depressing, even though I can't complain about depicting battle (even glorious battle for the soul of a magical kingdom) as completely horrible.

Definitely more worthy than Monster Hunters International, anyway.

Cats: Opaque cats tried to help with work!

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22 July 2011 - Friday

Work: Check.

Cats: Twelve paws, no waiting!

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21 July 2011 - Thursday

Work: Check.

Gaming: When two people are fighting, one yells, "Help me, this guy has gone crazy", and the other yells, "Help me! My plan must succeed!", who do you help?

Textual Entertainments: Larry Correia is one of the Campbell Award nominees, so his first novel Monster Hunter International was included in the Hugo voter packet. It was very much "heavily armed private corporations with no oversight must save the world because the Federal government can't do anything right", but otherwise acceptably rollicking. Not great, but I feel no need to hunt down the author and perform necromancy to get those hours of my life back.

Food: The Old Siam isn't as good as Thai City, but it was much more conveniently located with respect to our cunning plan.

Cats: Twelve paws!

which one by marith (Mon Jul 25 19:11:42 2011)

Neither. Not enough data. Stun them both and interrogate them, preferably in separate rooms. :)

Re: which one by Trip (Mon Jul 25 19:29:04 2011)

Sadly, yelling "Lay down your arms and let's talk about this" didn't get us anywhere.

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20 July 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Split shift again today. No customers attacked during the evening, but that doesn't mean I was productive.

Textual Entertainments: Of the novels nominated for the Hugo, I've already read Cryoburn (Lois McMaster Bujold), The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (N K Jemisin), and Feed (Mira Grant). I hadn't been planning to read Blackout/All Clear (Connie Willis) and nothing I've heard or seen about it changes my mind, so that leaves The Dervish House (Ian McDonald), which I finished today.

It's cyberpunk! The details are appropriate to modern SF (nanotech instead of designer drugs, microbot swarms instead of clunky drones, cellphones, etc), but the attitude toward the tech and the wheeling and dealing feel like Voice of the Whirlwind or something. It's not a particularly dystopic Istanbul, though.

Silly Computer Games: After countless deaths, my Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup character finally scored some good artifacts (following the right-hand wall does work in the Labyrinth). Probably now he will die a bunch more anyway.

Cats: Sometimes I still worry that Ghirardelli is oppressing the other cats, but then I see him come tearing down the hall with Aspen in hot pursuit and think they are probably just being cats.

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19 July 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Clannad After Story 3: I actually feel sorry for Sunohara.
  • Durarara!! 20-21: The forces set in motion are now rushing toward each other!
  • Death Note 32: Light is finally moving forward, but will it matter?
  • Umineko 25-26: Explanations are for feeble American minds, I guess.

Cats: Miau miau miau!

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18 July 2011 - Monday

Work: After having emergencies every day last week, we finally implemented the exciting new split shift scheme to get coverage between the end of the day in California and the beginning of the day in India. This involves someone knocking off work a couple of hours early and then working from home for roughtly 17:30 to 19:30, and today it was me.

Random Encounters: Jim, former servant of Marmalade, at the train station, with the very large backpack! He was on his way back from Seattle, because he has large savings and no job and can bum around. (But he had to work 160-hour weeks to get those savings, so I can't say he doesn't deserve it.)

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: The golem-suit quests outside Howling Fjord are kind of annoying (what kind of golem suit has no attack powers?!) but fortunately getting the suit blown off or even getting killed doesn't reset your progress toward the quota of lightning effects.

Cats: Paws: still twelve!

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17 July 2011 - Sunday

Work: Bah, customer. Not horrible, but fixing the problem took up valuable WoW time.

Gaming: No D&D because people are unavailable.

I did finish up reading the D&D4 Shadowfell boxed set. It's technically for Essentials, but it's close enough that I can probably use it against the PCs when they get to the Shadowfell. There may not be any features like that where they're going in the World, but it's not a perfect reflection.

Textual Entertainments: When I started Retribution Falls (Chris Wooding) my first though was, "Hey, it's Lady Blackbird". It's not so close that I think there's any direct connection, but it's got airships with no visible means of support, tramp steamers, sky pirates, a pirate king, nobles on the lame, named and numbered heroes with fancy names and flashy schticks, at least one kind of magic, an annoying empire, ... It wasn't amazing, but it gets full marks for sky piracy.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Dark iron dwarves! I hate those guys!

Visual Entertainments: Yumeria does not appear to have any redeeming qualities whatsoever, but that's okay. If it did, I would have to save it to watch at Tuesday Night Anime.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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16 July 2011 - Saturday

Work: No customers today!

Textual Entertainments: As a Worldcon-goer, I feel an obligation to vote for the Hugos this year. Fortunately, all the written fiction is available on the intertubes to Worldcon members, so I can make an informed decision at least on those.

Today I finished up the short fiction (novellas, novelettes, short stories).

BEST NOVELLA

  • "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window" (Rachel Swirsky): Yay non-Utopian matriarchy! Yay creepy magic!
  • The Lifecycle of Software Objects (Ted Chiang): That's plausible human behavior, although I suspect even Ted Chiang can't predict how weird people will be when the situation really arises.
  • "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" (Elizabeth Hand): That was pointless, and barely even SF.
  • "The Sultan of the Clouds" (Geoffrey A. Landis): That was definitely SF, complete with crazed plan and exotic social structure.
  • "Troika" (Alastair Reynolds): Everything is more depressing when you're Russian.

BEST NOVELETTE

  • "Eight Miles" (Sean McMullen): I like this because it is the sort of thing that I like, although I'm not sure the plot is particularly free of holes.
  • "The Emperor of Mars" (Allen M. Steele): That was pointless, but at least it was SF (possibly in the broad sense).
  • "The Jaguar House, in Shadow" (Aliette de Bodard): High-tech Aztecs are always good, but this didn't do enough with the concept. Wasteland of Flint, House of Reeds, and Land of the Dead by Thomas Harlan, are still my favorites in this sub-sub-sub-genre (with honorable mention to the story that had both Aztecs and dinosaurs).
  • "Plus or Minus" (James Patrick Kelly): Eight deadly words.
  • "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" (Eric James Stone): Gah. Just, gah.

BEST SHORT STORY

  • "Amaryllis" (Carrie Vaughn): This story doesn't do a whole lot for me, but the world seems to have plenty of possibility.
  • "For Want of a Nail" (Mary Robinette Kowal): These people are idiots and deserve to lose all their data and die in space.
  • "Ponies" (Kij Johnson): Brilliantly horrifying.
  • "The Things" (Peter Watts): A traditional trope, but well-done.

Textual Entertainments: Besides the Hugo-nominated works, I have an assortment of stuff from the writers nominated for the Campbell award. The one that bubbled to the top of the list today was I Am Not A Serial Killer, by Dan Wells. The main character is, indeed, not a serial killer, but that boy ain't right. He turns out okay in the end, though. Kinda.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia finally got to Honored with Shattered Sun so she could get the next batch of jewelcrafting designs, and they turned out to already be grey to her. She blew that cheap popsicle stand and headed back to Northrend, but this time to the starting area at the eastern end, Howling Fjord. Fewer walrus-guys, more giants.

Visual Entertainments: Moribito did finish within 26 episodes, and even ended reasonably triumphantly. I felt a little bad for the rarungas, but there didn't seem to be any way to talk them down.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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15 July 2011 - Friday

Work: Cow Orker M is still out, so I have extra bonus on-call this weekend. Bah.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia farmed rep on the Secret Island of Ten Thousand Daily quests, but didn't quite make it to the next level. Next time for sure!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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14 July 2011 - Thursday

Work: Check.

Gaming: No point in trying to play Earthdawn without Mike, so we let Ken talk us into trying Race for the Galaxy with draft decks. I did even worse than usual, because I suck at things that require braining.

Textual Entertainments: The Quantum Thief (Hannu Rajaniemi) is, I guess, New Space Opera. Far future, no strange physics, rampant nanotech, public-key cryptography built into people's minds to mediate social interactions, that sort of thing. Wikipedia informs me that he is part of the same writers' group as Charlie Stross, which seems perfectly reasonable.

tQT was pretty entertaining, but somehow failed to grab me completely. It's only his first book, though, so optimism pulsates.

Cats: Maybe I need to get Ghirardelli little cat tranquilizers or something. Or just turn him upside down a lot. That should work, right?

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13 July 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Ended up staying at work late again. Bah!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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12 July 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Textual Entertainments: The Dragon's Path (Daniel Abraham) is a more standard fantasy setting than the "Long Price" series, but there seems to be strange philosophical doom lurking. Also, banking.

Sequential Entertainments: Why did I not remember how awesome Scary Go Round was?

Visual Entertainments:

  • Death Note 31: I dunno, Light's really not doing very well.
  • Clannad After Story 1-2: For some reason I thought this was set much later, but it seems to be right after the first season. Not that the passage of years would decrease the amount of abuse Sunohara takes.
  • Umineko 24: Only two more episodes. I wonder if anything will matter or even make sense.
  • Durarara!! 18-19: When Izaya smirks like that, nothing is going to go well.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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11 July 2011 - Monday

Work: Argh, bus schedule changed to be ten minutes earlier.

Cow Orker M is now scheduled to be back at work on the first of next month.

Textual Entertainments: Deadline by Mira Grant (who I think is secretly Seanan McGuire) is the sequel to Feed, all about heroic bloggers vs zombie conspiracies. In this volume: more bloggers, more conspiracies, fewer zombies on-screen but more total, and plenty of heroism. Also, that thing in the first book that made you go "..."? It really meant what you thought it meant, it wasn't just you.

There are enough things that don't add up that I really want to read the third book to find out what is Really Going On (which hopefully will not be "the author is an idiot not interested in your pathetic attention to detail and plausibility"), but it is not out for a YEAR. Snivel.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Back to the Secret Island of Ten Thousand Daily Quests to farm rep to get more jewelcrafting recipes, but Zmorcia only got a couple of them done before Marmalade became so very opaque and affectionate.

Cats: Opaque affectionate kitty!

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10 July 2011 - Sunday

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia did a bunch of the daily quests on Quel'Danas, forgot to do the ones that involve going back to Shattrath/Terokkar, and ended up starting on Northrend. Quests there give more XP, monsters give lots more XP, and some of the quest reward items are things she can actually use, so this is clearly a win. Plus, heroic walrus guys vs giant mist vikings!

Visual Entertainments: Finally finished disc 7 of Moribito. It looks like one more disc will be enough to wrap up the current plotline.

Cats: Paws: still twelve!

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9 July 2011 - Saturday

Gaming: I am still terrible at Race For The Galaxy. When I think about what I am doing, I become even more terrible.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Level 72! All of Netherstorm explored! And, because that was the last zone remaining in Outlands, all of Outlands explored! But Zmorcia got distracted by the magic portal to the Secret Island of Ten Thousand Daily Quests, which has the potential for special jewelcrafting recipes.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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8 July 2011 - Friday

Work: I'm not on call this weekend, but I should probably get the thing fixed by Monday. Bleah.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Netherstorm quests still not that exciting, even though I stayed up until 25 o'clock playing. Once the current set is done, time for Northrend.

Cats: Twelve paws that reconfigure my laptop!

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7 July 2011 - Thursday

Work: Everything is all broken. Again. Or maybe still.

Gaming: Ken and Ayse have cancelled Earthdawn for unspecified reasons. Probably something mushy.

Textual Entertainments: The Demon's Surrender (Sarah Rees Brennan), third in the trilogy, contains really a huge amount of doom and also narration by Sin. By the end of the book, they had mostly staved it off due to Jamie's badassery, but not in a very stable way. But what safety is ever stable? IMHO, there was a little too much pairing-off, but that's not very stable either.

There could easily be sequels, but I don't think there needs to be.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: In addition to goblins, Netherstorm has blood elves, and it's mostly too low-level for Zmorcia anyway. I think after she explores the zone, it will be Northrend Ho!

Cats: The cats seem to have recovered from their ordeal.

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6 July 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Check. Bleah.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia did a couple of dailies in Spiky Spiky Mountains but then moved on to Netherstorm, which is apparently a major hub for the Glowing Purple Stuff industry. Also, it has goblins.

Cats: I had to lock the cats in my room all day so that the apartment could be inspected. Marmalade and Ghirardelli weren't terribly distressed by this (and don't seem to have fought much), but I didn't see Aspen anywhere! I checked with the cute apartment manager but she was sure none of the cats had gotten out, so I went back and looked and looked and finally found Aspen wedged into the space under the futon frame, which has about 0.9 cats of clearance. I think she may have been stuck, since she didn't go anywhere until I lifted the frame up and let her scarper. Don't scare me like that, Aspen kitty!

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5 July 2011 - Tuesday

Work: When the plan was to return from Roseville today, I had asked for this morning off and this afternoon as work-from-home. Now that I am home, I should probably have gone in to work, but I was too lame and followed the original plan. Also I may have shambled around the apartment zombie-like.

Textual Entertainments: I reread The Demon's Covenant (Sarah Rees Brennan) preparatory to reading the third. Wow, that is quite a bit of doom. Mae and Jamie's mother was possibly even more awesome than I had recalled, though.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Clannad 23-24: One random fillerish episode, and one AU in which Tomoya's player went for <rot13>Gbzblb</rot13> instead of <rot13>Antvfn</rot13>.
  • Death Note 30: That deception only lasted a few episodes, but that was several years for the characters, so I guess it was a win for the perpetrator.
  • Umineko 22-23: I really have no idea what's going on now.
  • Durarara!! 17: Anri rocks, but I fear there may be enormous doom bearing down on everyone.

Next week, Clannad After Story (season two).

Food: No barbecue.

Cats: I am assured that everything is better with gooshyfoods.

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4 July 2011 - Monday

Vacation: Yay vacation! Boo going home!

Gaming: We got a little more D&D4, in which diabolical skullduggery was foiled and my avenger got to use his 3W daily on an inanimate object. Plus, more crits!

Food: Barbecue and excessive watermelon!

Cats: No cats in the entire history of felinity have been so oppressed as to be deprived of gooshy food for three whole days!

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3 July 2011 - Sunday

Vacation: Additional swimming! Additional conversation! Same friends, but that's okay because I haven't sucked all the conversation out of them yet.

Gaming: Al ran D&D4 for five people with first level characters, because he is not an idiot. Attack vines and assorted excessively large bugs were defeated, and logbooks and charts captured for the revolution!

Playing an avenger is pretty fun, although I think switching to the exotic weapon with brutal 2 will be better than counting 1s and 2s on damage dice as 3s on all weapons. But, all crits all the time!

I'm pretty sure my campaign needs a high concept. Or euthanasia.

Dave was not firm enough in refuting my claim that Munchkin Zombies would be fun to play at 22:00, so we stayed up too late, but that's what vacation is for: staying up too late and shifting blame.

Food: Additional barbecue!

Cats: I'm sure they are okay!

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2 July 2011 - Saturday

Vacation: Check! Unsurprisingly we left Mountain View an hour after we planned, but the traffic was still not as bad as it could have been and we made it to Roseville in about three hours.

Things that are fun about vacationing in Roseville: friends! swimming pool! friends who like gaming!

Gaming: We played Dominion: Prosperity and Race for the Galaxy. People who were not me won.

I ran D&D4 with too many people and too high-level characters. People who sat out won.

Food: Barbecue!

Cats: set CAT_WORRY_MODE=1

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1 July 2011 - Friday

Work: Oh look, Big Customer X is having trouble with their cluster. Again. I wonder if they'll ever get around to buying enough hardware to support their workload.

My, the Internet really is full of bugs: If you've noticed this page not displaying sometimes, it's my fault. Way back at the dawn of time I put in a timer to make the CGI script abort if it couldn't finish within 10 seconds, because I am nice, and didn't want to eat all of idiom's CPU. But now idiom is slow and suckful because no one cares about maintaining it, so sometimes the script couldn't complete in time. I upped the timeout to 30, so it should be okay now. Probably.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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