Previously, in Trip's Life...

31 August 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Check.

Textual Entertainments: Because it was to hand, I reread The Fuller Memorandum (Charles Stross). That's what we expect to see happen to Mythos investigators!

Next book is not out until 2012, sniff.

Cats: Aspen was so comfy in the spot between the bookcase and the pile of crap in front of it that she did not run away when I afflicted her with the pettins. She did hiss, but only a little.

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30 August 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Kiddy Grade Truth Dawn movie: Now we are caught up on the recap of the first season, so next week we can start season two.
  • Clannad After Story 10: If Tomoya keeps this up, he may become a productive member of society.
  • Brighter Than The Dawning Blue 4: How did Feena get that far without learning to delegate?
  • Star Driver 7: The opponents are getting crazier, which means the fights are getting tougher.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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29 August 2011 - Monday

Work: What, Monday again? And with extra bonus customer hand-holding until late in the evening, although that part I could do from home.

Textual Entertainments: Agatha H and the Airship City (Phil and Kaja Foglio) is pretty much the same story as the first three volumes of Girl Genius only without the pictures. It's interesting to see more internal life of the PCs and backstory of the NPCs, but the prose style is not so great. Mostly it made me want to go back and reread the comic, which is hardly a bad thing.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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28 August 2011 - Sunday

Gaming: Is it success or failure when a D&D4 combat takes up the entire session? Regardless, that's what happened, but at least the PCs made it back from the potential time to the real world. Now they have to come up with a better plan than the one they had before, since that one resulted in everyone dying.

Every character has one or two defenses that don't increase much with level, which means that by level 13, any equal-level monster can automatically hit with attacks against those defenses. Do I have monsters make those attacks, because duh? Or avoid them so the PCs aren't crushed like bugs? Or switch to a different system?

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Check.

Cats: Twelve paws of miauing!

combat by kit (Sat Sep 10 14:31:27 2011)

I call it a success, but then, I play D&D to hit things. :)

Re: combat by Trip (Sat Sep 10 14:57:30 2011)

There's not much doubt that these things needed to be hit!

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27 August 2011 - Saturday

Gaming: Ken's birthday happened during Worldcon, so he didn't get birthday gaming until today. Marith and Dave and I showed up, and Mike, and an Austrian woman Ayse knows from some sort of mothering activity plus her daughter (same age as Ja Baby, more or less) and her husband. In Austria, everyone plays board games, so they were sad to be in the US until they fell in with geeks. (Now they may still be sad that Ayse and Ken have such freakish friends, but at least they have someone to play Settlers of Catan with.)

What with double baby-wrangling and time limits imposed by other commitments, Ken only got to play one game of Race for the Galaxy, one game of Phoenicia, and one game of Dominion (there was also some Carcassonne in which Marith and I were crushed by Austrian guy Phillip, but Ken was not involved), but he seemed okay with this.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia is level 80! This probably means she should be leaving Northrend for the Cataclysm content, but why change now?

Cats: Miau miau miau!

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26 August 2011 - Friday

Work: Yay Friday!

Gaming: Fiasco (Jason Morningstar) is a GMless RPG for playing in the genre of movies where people of more ambition than competence make plans that go horribly, horribly wrong. (The four exemplars are Blood Simple, Burn After Reading, Fargo, and A Simple Plan, but the book lists about fifty more, so most Americans have probably seen at least one.)

Every game has a "playset", which defines the genre/setting by providing lists of relationships (between PCs) and needs/objects/locations (which are attached to relationships, not individual PCs), to choose from with random constraints for setup. The book provides four basic ones, and there are about a zillion available on-line.

Once the starting parameters of the doom are set, and an equal number of black and white dice are piled in the middle of the table, players take turns playing scenes with their characters and any PCs or NPCs they want to narrate in, either establishing the scene and letting the other players decide whether it should succeed or fail (shown by handing out a white or black die) or letting the other players establish the scene and then deciding the outcome. After it goes around twice, two players chosen semi-randomly decide on a twist to throw everyone's plans into disarray, and then play goes around twice more. Each player rolls all the dice they've accumulated, subtracts the black total from the white total, and hopes for a large absolute value (less doomed outcome for their character). Then there's an epilogue where each die is turned into a brief image, and roll credits. Playing time is expected to be 2-3 hours.

Since there are pretty much no resolution mechanics (failing at an action can get an award of either a black or white die depending on how the table perceives the outcome), everyone has to be into the genre and into the game. This is not a game that does well with people who are inactive or contrary, but it seems like it would be a lot of fun with people who get it. In a horrible sort of way.

Textual Entertainments: The Heroes is a sequel or spin-off of Joe Abercrombie's "First Law" trilogy, in which many of the same characters show up in a random battle between the Union and the Northerners. There are about a dozen viewpoint characters, at various ranks on both sides (some trying to do what they think is right, some trying to get ahead in the world, most trying to do both), so there is no doubt that war sucks from every angle.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: I'm not addicted! ...much.

Cats: Twelve paws!

Fiasco by Carl (Thu Sep 22 03:27:56 2011)

You are Correct that Fiasco is a game that requires the players to buy into the genre and participate actively, and also correct that it's a lot of fun with that. Bryant has created an online list of the 2038028 playsets, including All the Damn Time in which everyone plays the same person, in a time travel fable of unfortunate consequences.

Make a comment!

25 August 2011 - Thursday

Work: Check.

Gaming:So as not to fall behind Ken, I finished up reading Diaspora, which had been sitting on the table ¾-read for a few days. It seems cool, although it's weird to see a Fate-based game with equipment design rules. All the minigames seem viable, and it's interesting that they included Heat as one of the stress tracks for space combat (and put big radiators on all the ship illustrations). I also didn't notice any rules for stealth in space, which is another point in their favor.

If we were not already full up with gaming, I would try to make people play it.

Visual Entertainments: There was no Mike, so no Earthdawn, and apparently Ken has decided that the new Slayers is on the wrong side of the finger, so we watched part of an episode of Lucifer(full episodes are apparently 70 minutes long, which is both weird and more time than we had after we finished deciding what to do). I would watch more.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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24 August 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Already vacation seems so far away...

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia did a bunch of quests in Sholazar Basin, almost certainly completely out of order. But they deserved it! (Now if only the cultists had dropped titanium instead of fur clothing scraps...)

Cats: Twelve paws!

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23 August 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Being at work is not like being on vacation, but it is also not like being in Reno.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Death Note 36-37: It's the end we all knew Light was coming to, but it would have been better if L done it.
  • Clannad After Story 9: That's not a form of doom you see all that often.
  • Star Driver 5-6: This time it will be different!
  • Brighter Than The Dawning Blue 3: Show of hands: did Feena burn the breakfast because she's not perfect, or because she is but didn't want to rub people's faces in it?

Cats: Ah, the short memories.

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22 August 2011 - Monday

Travel: This time I only spent half the trip with Ja Baby, then Ken took over. She was very sad that we did not take the route with the windmills.

When we got back to Mountain View, there was much bustling about as Ja Baby and Ken both got put down for naps, but eventually I got home. My lair may be squalid, but it's mine.

Loot: I came back from Worldcon with:

  • Fiasco, a GMless RPG for the genre of movies in which small-time plans go to hell (eg, Fargo, or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels)
  • The Fiasco Companion, which will probably be more interesting after I've played Fiasco,
  • Microscope, a GMless game (may or may not count as an RPG) of history at various scales
  • The third version of Nobilis, which is very pretty although I don't know about its content yet
  • The Laundry, Call of Cthulhu adaptation for Charles Stross's "Laundry" series of books about the British civil service vs Great Old Ones
  • Trail of Cthulhu, a Cthulhu RPG built around a system optimized for playing mystery/investigation scenarios
  • Remember Tomorrow, a very small cyberpunk RPG
  • Hamlet's Hit Points, Robin Laws on certain aspects of storytelling and how they can make you a better GM
  • FreeMarket, an RPG of memetic economics on a space station in the post-human future which is allegedly a work of genius
  • Hive, which is like hexagonal chess where the pieces are the board,
  • and a small pink-purple-blue plush octopus.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments:Check.

Cats: I return, bearing pettins for all kitty-kind! I have not come to eat Aspen!

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21 August 2011 - Sunday

Worldcon: Final day of the con.

Ayse was still passed out from parties the night before, so Ken and I took Ja Baby over to the dealer's room where I bought another chunk of the Indie Press Revolution booth and Ja Baby tried on many hats and a few scarves. We tried on the hats too.

The variety of programming on the last day of a Con is usually pretty slim, so I ended up going to another panel, "Fantasy and the Personal View". But it was okay because the panel was mostly Sean McMullen, Jo Walton, and a couple of less well-known writers, and the audience refrained from derailing. It turns out Sean McMullen voluntarily does things like hike fifty kilometers across the Australian desert in mail to know what it's like for a low-tech soldier, Jo Walton wrote a semi-autobiographical novel which required recreating her adolescence in the industrial desolation of Wales in much more detail than memory could provide, and Janna Silverstein did research on lions in Africa, which led to terrifying experiences like meeting elephants in the middle of night in the middle of nowhere. I am totally not cool enough to be a writer.

Ayse had a kaffeeklatsch with Jo Walton, which sounded awesome but which I did not successfully sign up for, so I went to listen to Seanan McGuire read from her upcoming October Daye book, which continues the soggy doom, and Madeline E Robins read from her upcoming Sarah Tolerance book, in which the main character gets hit over the head like a proper detective. I read the first Robins book and don't remember much of it, but her reading made me want to revisit them.

One more pass through the dealers' room as it was closing, and I finished noting down the titles of books I wanted, so I could try buying them in softcopy instead of dead trees. If I decide I like it, I can probably reduce my physical clutter by quite a bit (especially if more authors do like Walter Jon Williams and put their backlist up as ebooks.

Ja Baby demanded more swimming pool, so we all obliged her. She was pleased by the water jets. I kind of like swimming, or at least wallowing walrus-like in the water. I should do it more often, although probably not where people can see.

Because we could (and Ja Baby got to eat unlimited shrimp for free) we went to the buffet for dinner. It was too close to the horrible casino, but the food was plentiful and good and we became quite round indeed before trundling back up to the rooms to search for the lost art of conversation.

Ken had picked up a copy of Diaspora from the IPR booth (which I totally did not expect), so after dinner while Ayse and Carl were being cultured, we wrote up a cluster. Best system aspect: Manly Sideburns. We also played a couple of games of Hive, and I actually won one against Ken. (Then he crushed me like an insect.)

Textual Entertainments: While oozing toward bed, I finished Downpour (Kat Richardson, Nth in a series about a hard-boiled detective afflicted with strange astral space powers). Like the previous books in the series, I liked it okay, but it was missing something. Emotional involvement, maybe.

Cats: Marith assures me that Marmalade and Ghirardelli have pettins, and no one has eaten Aspen.

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20 August 2011 - Saturday

Worldcon: After yesterday, it is apparent that panels are for the lose and Earl had the right idea all along: go to events where you can actually interact with the authors.

Following this new philosophy, I signed up for and attended a kaffeeklatsch with Aliette de Bodard (chosen because she wrote a Hugo-nominated short story about high-tech Aztecs and the signup sheet wasn't already full). Fortunately we had an aspiring writer at the table who was ready with a question about writing whenever the conversation flagged. The most important thing I learned was that there are more Aztec cybernoir books to be pillaged and consumed!

Somehow both Ayse and I got into the kaffeeklatsch with Phil and Kaja (pronounced like "Kaia") Foglio, which had one person who was incapable of shutting up and one (very young) person who wanted to talk about fictional characters as though they were real people, but everyone else was reasonable so we were able to get the Foglios to talk amusingly at length about art and creating Girl Genius and working in multiple media for the same story and so on.

Talking was too hard, so I went to the concert by SJ Tucker (who looks kind of like Cat and is not as alarming as Seanan McGuire) and then to listen to Sean McMullen (who is taller and skinnier and older than I had imagined) reading from a steampunk story that will be in Analog or something. 1500km/h trains in the 1890s!

A Worldcon literary beer is like a Worldcon kaffeeklatsch, only in the afternoon, and with a different beverage that I don't drink. I signed up for the Geoff Landis one, but it turned out to be full of obnoxious old people, and the discussion of spacecraft power systems was replaced by too much beer and not enough literary, so I bailed to pillage the dealer's room and admire the art show some more before the next beer.

Walter Jon Williams was much more interesting, or his interlocutors were more interesting, or both. He is professional about writing and willing to talk about his older works (he got his start back in the dawn of time writing historicals, because he thought he wasn't good enough to write SF) and down with ebooks and generally pretty cool. It also turns out he knows Daniel Abraham, but this didn't come up until after Ayse had left to put Ja Baby to bed.

Ayse got Masquerade Winner Ebeth to watch the monitor, so she and Ken could come with us to Louis' Basque Corner and discover that when a Basque restaurant says "served family-style" they mean it. No lazy susans or anything like that, just a bowl of soup or salad or carafe of wine handed to the person at one end of the table. The only part of the meal that was configurable was the entree, for which there were about three choices. But it was very good! Even Ken approved!

And finally, the climax of Worldcon (depending on who you ask), the Hugos! Also, the Award Voted Least Likely To Be A Hugo!

There were a lot of categories I didn't know anything about (editors, zines, artists) so I mostly didn't care about them, although it was pretty impressive how overcome with emotion Chris Garcia (Best Fanzine) was. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone that happy about anything before.

Where I did have opinions, apparently not all of them were shared by the other Hugo voters. The Lifecycle of Software Objects (Ted Chiang) and Girl Genius vol 10 (Phil and Kaja Foglio) did deserve to win, and it was not horrible that Inception won. The novel, novelette, and short story awards were all wrong, though. These voters are defective!

And then it was 22:30 so I went to bed.

Cats: The reports are still favorable!

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19 August 2011 - Friday

HAPPY HAPPY KEN-DAY!!

Worldcon: Sleeping in hotel rooms is hard, but at least I have my brain inflator.

For breakfast we went back to Biscotti's because they had not betrayed us earlier, and they had bourbon vanilla French toast with mascarpone and pecan waffles with bananas Foster. Victory!

The first panel of the day was a couple of guys who are trying to bring quantitave rigor to the question of the difference between SF and fantasy, using a program called LIWC, the theories of Suvin, and 450 stories from the World's Best SF and World's Best Fantasy. Their results were not very exciting, but are very preliminary. However, the victorious part of the panel was that I talked to Cory Doctorow about SF and quantitative literary analysis and he did not scorn me as a n00b. Points for me!

Other panels were not so good. "What is Consciousness?" fell into the rathole that is the hardware/software analogy after about 15 minutes so I bailed, and "WTF? Truly Bizarre Anime" never even managed to define bizarreness. On the other hand, the Seanan McGuire concert was awesome, the Lauren Beukes reading from Zoo City was interesting and included anecdotes about research, and the surreal puppet show was hilarious. Clearly panels are not the way to go!

Between scheduled activities, I wandered around the dealers' room, especially the Indie Press Revolution booth. Carl was polite enough to say good things about my gaming to the guy there, which apparently instantly made me Cool. Huh. (Nevertheless, I resisted the urge to buy one of everything.)

I randomly encountered a cow orker from back East wandering the halls, which I completely did not expect.

Ayse and Ken had room service to nom on while putting Ja Baby to bed, so I went out for Mexican with Earl and Cat (Bertha Miranda's). The mole, Crying Pig, and fish tacos were all good. Earl is difficult to talk to, but Cat likes to talk about her kittehs, so that's okay.

The masquerade had about thirty entries, of varying presentation quality. (They were also judged on workmanship, but we couldn't see that from the back of the room.) Obviously the best were Erin's TARDIS and Ebeth's electroluminescent phoenix wings, but some of the others were also good. "The Undine" would have made Marith turn green with her dyeing. There are some pictures in the convention newsletter, and more will probably be somewhere on the Net at some point.

After all the masqueraders had presented and the judges had retired for deliberation, Paul Cornell and a cast of victims (Seanan McGuire, Lauren Beukes, Bill Willingham, and an older British guy whose name I did not recognize and therefore do not remember but who apparently inherited the championship after John Scalzi retired) played Just a Minute, and it was hysterical. Possibly indescribably hysterical, but highlights included Seanan getting successfully challenged for reusing the word "favorite" when the subject was "A Deadly Virus", Lauren challenging Seanan (who weighs about twice what she does) to a rumble, Bill being declared the villain and getting roundly booed by the audience, and Seanan phoning her mom to confirm that the anecdote that had been challenged as deviating from the subject really did come back around to her making her siblings play monsters from Space: 1999. Seanan won, which apparently makes her the Worldcon Just A Minute Champion.

The judges showed their wisdom by awarding both Mittmanns Best in Class for their categories, so I did not have to explode them. The chief workmanship judge came up and explained why they gave each award they gave, which may have been better than being able to see the features of the costumes, since I wouldn't have know what I was looking at. A good time was had by all, except those who had passed out because it didn't end until 23:00.

Cats: Marith says they are still doing well!

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18 August 2011 - Thursday

Worldcon: Check!

My job on the drive out to Reno was to sit in the back seat and entertain Ja Baby (don't look at me, it's what she calls herself), which went surprisingly well. She was very sad to leave the windmills behind, and after about four hours she was ready to be in "Reno RIGHT NOW", but then who wasn't? She did not get enough napping, though, because of sound and light and poor architecture.

Reno is pretty darn tawdry. The main drag goes "pawn shop, tattoo parlor, pawn shop, topless bar, casino, loan shark, pawn shop, lingerie store, repeat". Fortunately we will be indoors all weekend.

Our hotel rooms were pretty palatial, and just upstairs from a restaurant which saved us from dying of starvation after Ja Baby's failed. However, the building also contained a casino, which exemplifies pretty much everything wrong with our society, and it was full of cigarette smoke, because Nevada is a backwards and barbaric land.

Despite all that, we did get registered at the con and although the Oceano restaurant failed us with their inepttude (maybe the neon and sequins and giant video screens in the casino damaged their brains), we did not die and Ken got to play Race for the Galaxy with Mike.

Cats: Marith assures me she is taking good care of them!

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17 August 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Looks like our boss will be at a managerial offsite tomorrow and Friday, while I am away at Worldcon. Suck to be my cow orkers!

Textual Educations: How To Lie With Maps, by Mark Monmonier, predates Google Maps by at least ten years (second edition published 1996) but the ways in which idiots and rat bastards can screw you over with maps are pretty universal. Unfortunately, there isn't a good remedy or even easy way to spot the flaws, because only a 1:1 map in at least three dimensions[*] can be truly accurate. The question is not whether a map is lying, but whether the lies matter to what you're trying to use it for.

*It gets even more complicated trying to map demographic or other data, and worse yet to do it over time.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Check.

Cats: I wonder if the cats will notice I am gone.

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16 August 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Things in the sky.

Textual Entertainments: The River of Shadows (Robert V S Redick) is the third book out of four, so of course the protagonists found out that the problem they had just solved, with great effort and substantial casualties, is not the problem that really needed solving. (It was pretty satisfying, though.)

Sequential Entertainments: The Griff (Christopher Moore, Ian Corson, Jennyson Rosero) is apparently based on a movie script Moore wrote, and, well. You remember that summer blockbuster about the alien invasion, the one where every time they found a plot hole, they threw another explosion in? Yah, like that.

Writing books and movie scripts are definitely different skills!

Visual Entertainments:

  • Death Note 35: Okay, that was a little more interesting. Doomed, but interesting. Next week, the finale!
  • Clannad After Story 7-8: Sunohara's habit of getting beaten to a pulp by Tomoyo seems to have left him with severe cognitive deficits. But we got to find out more about the girl in the library annex!
  • Star Driver 4: Angst translates directly to giant robot fighting power! But not enough fighting power. Obviously the evil masterminds need to traumatize their minions more.
  • Brighter Than The Dawning Blue 1-2: Space princess high school love comedy. If it's far enough in the future that the moon has been thoroughly colonized (twice?), you'd think that they'd at least have flying cars.

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

things in the sky by kit (Tue Aug 23 13:42:47 2011)

Those were beautiful!

Re: things in the sky by Trip (Tue Aug 23 16:26:56 2011)

Vision is awesome!

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15 August 2011 - Monday

Work: It may be a short week, but Monday is still Monday.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia finally pillaged the guild bank for high-level gems to craft sufficient and sufficiently-advanced items to get her Jewelcrafting skill to 450. Now she can prospect titanium... and it gives about the same gems as cobalt or saronite. Oh well, she's still more l33t than yesterday, and that's what D&D is all about!

Did you know that Icecrown Citadel, besides towering hugely above every other point in Northrend, also has a shaft that goes down and down and down into a surprisingly well-lit cavern full of faceless abominations?

Cats: It has been ages since I cruelly betrayed her tolerance by taking her to the vet, but Aspen has still not forgiven me.

nonspoilery spoilers by kit (Wed Aug 17 13:35:19 2011)

Having been massively spoiled for a season finale recently, I at least partially agree with that article. Except for when I don't. :)

Re: nonspoilery spoilers by Trip (Wed Aug 17 19:13:56 2011)

I don't know if I agree with it or not!

Make a comment!

14 August 2011 - Sunday

Gaming: This would normally be an actual scheduled Palo Alto D&D weekend, but there is unavailability. Maybe next fortnight.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Every time it looks like it's almost done, Grizzly Hills has more quests! I think Zmorcia is finally almost done, though, with only the dark iron dwarves in the northeast still not completely quested out. As done as she can be, anyway, given that the levels when she could solo a group quest just by waiting until it was green to her are long past.

Cats: Paw delta in past 24 hours: ±0!

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13 August 2011 - Saturday

Textual Entertainments: Rule 34 (Charles Stross) is the sequel to Halting State, but my failure to remember any substantial portion of the first book didn't hamper it, and it is pretty awesome. Consciousness: the way of the past.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Level 78! Zmorcia is still wandering aimlessly around southern Northrend, mining like a mad mining thing.

Visual Entertainments: Finished Yumeria. Meh.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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12 August 2011 - Friday

Work: Check.

Textual Entertainments: Red Glove (Holly Black) is the sequel to White Cat, in which the main character's already-impressive doom just grows and grows.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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11 August 2011 - Thursday

Work: Our office is being upgraded by the Secret Corporate Masters. So far we have an extra wall of snacks in the kitchen, and doors between the lobby and the actual office that require badges.

Gaming: It turns out that the right answer to "which one do you help?" was "run away!". The dwarf with the plan had in fact stolen a bunch of people's powers and killed a bunch more people, but the troll who said the dwarf had gone mad was an avatar of the Mad Passion of Bugs, Decay, and Bloody Revenge. Isidari successfully stabbed him, which did absolutely no harm to him and nearly destroyed her sword, but he was too busy spreading doom to bother killing her at that time.

Painful as it is, the PCs are probably going to have to leave this to the duly-constituted authorities, since even if you piled all the Legend Points the party has ever earned together, it's not even an eighth what the avatar of Raggok is worth.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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10 August 2011 - Wednesday

Work: Blah.

My, the Internet really is full of things: Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity.

Gaming: Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (Daniel Solis) is definitely a storytelling game, not a roleplaying game, but looks fun. How can you not like a game where "gets into trouble by turning into a sphere" is 50% of a valid character sheet?

The fundamental action of the game is writing a sentence about what happens (after some discussion), so it seems like it should work well online.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Zmorcia is now level 77 after going up through Howling Fjord, so should probably just abandon all the Borean Tundra quests, shouldn't she? Even if she gets back to them, they'll probably be grey by then.

Cats: Aspen's fur is all matted again. She is not good at grooming herself.:(

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9 August 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Textual Entertainments: Ghost Story, the Nth book in Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files" series, continues the tradition of Harry screwing everything up and then somehow winning. You might think his doom level had plateaued with this book (how much worse could it get after the ending of the previous book?), but no, it continues to be monotonically increasing.

Poor Molly.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Kiddy Grade Maelstrom movie: I thought the events at the end of this were more than 2/3 of the way through the series, but I suppose there's no reason the summarization ratio has to be constant.
  • Death Note 34: Meh.
  • Clannad After Story 6: Pretty much what we guessed, but still cute.
  • Star Driver 3: The colors! The drama! The dramatic colors!

Cats: Twelve paws!

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8 August 2011 - Monday

Work: Bah.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: I logged Zmorcia in to quickly do the jewelcrafting daily, but the first zillion Scourge the map pointed her to turned out be level 74 elites or something crazy, and when she finally got some to pillage for the maguffin, she had to circumnavigate Shalozar Basin almost twice to get like four saronite deposits (and some titanium, but she can't prospect that until she gets about 20 more points of jewelcrafting and there's no obvious way to level that up). Bah!

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

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7 August 2011 - Sunday

Work: Still no work!

Gaming: Making betrayal interesting is hard, probably because it means having NPCs who hang around longer than a session. On the other hand, the PCs got to the center (mystically speaking) of the imminent doom and attacked, which was about all I expected for the session.

Jeremy & Rachel & spawn now have a small dog, who freaks out about new people but is allegedly a very fine and well-behaved dog. Her name is Rosie.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Did you know that Northrend is quite large and has a lot of stuff? Enough to fill up a quest log, anyway!

Cats: Twelve paws! None of them are dog paws!

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6 August 2011 - Saturday

Work: Hurray, no extra bonus on-call!

Food: Too much bacon! (Which is to say, almost as much as I wanted to eat.)

Gaming: We played Thrace! According to my notes, this is the first time since April, although there might have been one time where I forgot to write anything down.

The PCs successfully beat up a bunch of fey-goblins in a maze of silk curtains and soft pillows (which did not appear to actually be a goblin seraglio), but Aesculpius got beaten up and failed one death check before being healed, so they carted the furnishing back upstairs and took an extended rest before going back down to find the creepy fey mirror-maze labyrinth room that is the center of power for an abomination that hates them. Next session will be great!

Cats: So many fuzzy paws!

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5 August 2011 - Friday

Work: Check.

My, the Internet really is full of things: No, you are not an exception.

Textual Entertainments: Swamplandia! (Karen Russell) reminds me why I read speculative fiction: even with hallucinations, mundanity is squalid and horrible and not enough of the right people get disintegrated.

Sequential Entertainments: Volume one of The Intrepid Girlbot (Diana Nock) is awesome and not mundane! Presumably volume two also will be, but it is not yet finished.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Did you know that Northrend has an access hatch that lets you get into the inner mechanisms? And someone left it open?

Cats: Twelve paws!

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4 August 2011 - Thursday

Work: Check.

Gaming: No gaming, Ken is dead from being worked to death.

Random Encounters: On my way past the random street festival clogging up downtown, I saw Harold performing with his group Smorgaschord (he's the one in the white vest in that picture), but I don't think he saw me, what with being busy singing and all.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: A level 74 elite is a lot tougher than a level 70 standard. Who would have thought?

Cats: Twelve paws!

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3 August 2011 - Wednesday

Modern Medicine: Apparently my mass and ichor composition are relatively stable.

Work: Working from home is still massively unproductive.

Textual Entertainments: I quite liked Black Blade Blues (J A Pitts), about a female blacksmith in the modern PNW who gets sucked into the horrible world of surviving Norse mythology, but the sequel Honeyed Words isn't as strong. Sarah's characterization is kind of uneven, and the new doom didn't seem to dovetail with the existing doom. Still entertaining, though.

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: I don't know how Dave manages to get all his dailies done in half an hour every morning. It took like an hour for Zmorcia to do just the fishing and jewelcrafting dailies from Dalaran. Okay, maybe not quite that long since she flew back on her own and stopped to mine along the way (so that's where they keep the saronite! and the titanium which she is like four points away from being able to exploit), but still. Obviously there are great gains in efficiency to be made.

Cats: Twelve paws!

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2 August 2011 - Tuesday

Work: Check.

Visual Entertainments:

  • Death Note 33: Meh. It's just not the same since that one event.
  • Star Driver 1-2: Wow. I guess the genre has reached the point where the conventions don't need to be set up. Also: the colors! (It reminds me of Mahou Shounen Fight.)
  • Clannad After Story 5: That's approaching Love Hina levels of violence.
  • Durarara!! 24-25: That was a pretty triumphant ending. There could have been more smiting, but as the bonus episode showed, it wouldn't have been easy.

Cats: Twelve fuzzy paws!

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1 August 2011 - Monday

Work: Cow Orker M is back! Except when he has to go to physical therapy. Ow.

Textual Entertainments: Can Bordertown, quintessential urban fantasy of the 80s, survive into the new millenium? Based on Welcome to Bordertown (ed Holly Black, Ellen Kushner), the answer is "Maybe". The original Bordertown books were clearly influential on a lot of writers, and many of the stories they produced for this volume are quite good (there are also poems and songs, which I feel less qualified to judge), but it doesn't seem quite the same. Admittedly, I'm not quite the same either, but the world has changed. I have no idea if Bordertown would work at all for people growing up now. Do we even know any teenagers who read fantasy?

Massively-Multiplayer Online Entertainments: Just flying around Howling Fjord looking for cobalt deposits was surprisingly productive. In addition to cobalt ore to prospect, Zmorcia got the exploration achievement for the zone.

Cats: Twelve superior paws!

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