ultranos: rudy roughnight holding rifle towards camera, with text "say hello to my boomstick" (boomstick)
You know, I don't usually mean to go all radio silence on this. It just kinda ends up happening. I've been fairly distracted lately by mechanics hacking for a high-action LARP universe some friends and I are spinning up. If we succeed, we'll have the new standard for a few years on how to run these. And at least one mechanic, if it's accepted, has the potential to significantly alter how we play these games tactically.

We ran a mechanics test today, and caught a lot of the bugs at low levels. So now to fix 'em. I'm also pretty pleased that I wore my Vibrams, braced both my knees (using a reinforced brace on the bad one), and was able to run around on concrete in a Nerf firefight for 2 hours with no pain. Seriously, I don't remember the last time that happened.

Downing glycosamine tonight to keep this progress up.

Speaking of "Things to Make Me Feel Less Falling-Apart", I've been contemplating the idea of trying climbing. My housemates all do it, and I've been wary because of my knees. But yesterday I was talking to another person who tried climbing for awhile, and she said that although women will use their legs more than their arms as compared to men, climbing really doesn't apply too much torque and strain to the knees. (Bouldering is a different story) I know there are some climbers around here; any advice? Now that my knees survived the stress test today, I'm seriously thinking of giving it a try.

And now to dive back into LaTeX.
ultranos: black on white safety stick-man getting a companion cube to the head (ow)
I am now apparently writing while loops in LaTeX.

Oh god, what has this game done to me, other than render me incapable of typing HTML? (seriously, I just tried to italicize with \textit{})

I am also trying very, very hard to not die. Or kill myself in the process, which falls under "not dying".
ultranos: balthier holding out his hand (come along with me)
My tabletop campaign starts tomorrow. I'm a little nervous, despite the fact I've been prepping for it for the last 2 weeks. My current plan is to have the sandbox ready, let my players do whatever, and then figure out where I need to build sandcastles for them to storm. We'll see how this works.

Somewhat relatedly, since I'm running an ASoIaF campaign, that's where my headspace has been. And I have friends who encourage crazy ideas. And there was an image macro and now I found that I really want the IM/ASoIaF crossover where slight spoilers )

I am not alone in this. Internet, why does this not exist yet?

I am also in the process of moving. When did I get so much STUFF? I remember when I could fit my entire life into 5 rubbermaid containers, 2 suitcases, and a duffelbag. Then again, that was 7 (!!) years ago, and I lacked critical possessions. Like a bed.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
I seem to be battling insomnia again. I do not remember the last time I got a solid 8 hours of sleep. The world is starting to go kinda fuzzy at the edges, and yet, here I am. I do not know why this keeps happening. I thought I was done with this ridiculousness after I graduated. SOMETIMES, I'M WRONG.

So, last post I mentioned that friends were trying to rope me into running a tabletop. Probably in no small part of the aformentioned sleep-deprivation, they succeeded. Now I find myself trying to cram the rules for a system I've never used before (nor have my players) into my head before the first session in less than two weeks. Apparently, there's a d6-based A Song of Ice and Fire roleplaying game. Fascinating!

Yes, I'm running a ASoIaF campaign. It takes place "20 minutes post A Dance with Dragons", meaning news of the events of the later chapters hasn't entirely propagated nor is the status of the later chapters in stasis. The premise is minor spoilers for ADwD )

In further evidence that my life revolves around gaming, when I've not been focused on that, I've been working on the IAP tenday I'm supposedly running. I am trying not to let panic and despair set in due to the realization that it might be inevitable that Synchronicity gets compared to HP: Year 7. Because there are fundamental differences in the type of games that mean that Synch really can't live up to Year 7. Mainly that Year 7 had this established world so didn't have to do as much world-building to establish with players what to expect. That and it's kinda wish-fulfillment: seriously, you got to pretend you were a Hogwarts student. How many years have some people been waiting for that? Meanwhile, Synch's a Guild original, and I don't know if we're going to get that level of immersion and favor. I don't know. It's kind of needless panic, but in the dark hours of the night, it eats at me, because I want to run the best game possible.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (sleepy)
Still addicted to Dragon Age: Origins. I, er, may have fallen in love with the setting. It's bloody and there's political intrigue and the Blight is near enough to an apocalypse to count. (There always needs to be an "it's the end of the world!" plot) I'm also loving the fact that I can be snarky, and was absolutely delighted when one of the dialogue responses was literally what I said out loud to the computer.

It's kind of fun playing the Human Noble origin as "I know how to behave in public and according to my station, but I have a sharp tongue when I want to". (And I wish I could find my PC's brother, because I'm just about convinced that the Cousland siblings were bloody hilarious and absolute terrors as children. Huzzah, personal canon.)

Also awkward: suddenly getting The Talk from one of my party members. I apparently triggered a flag somewhere. Because the fact my PC was involved with another party member was news to me. Which leads me to imagining her blinking a lot and going "wait, what?"

And the party member I thought would hate me forever and leave the party (until I figured out how to talk to him) is the first one other than my dog to have a 100% approval rating. *dances*

In other news, a strange and wonderful thing happened on Friday. At 3pm, after coming into work at 11am and taking lunch, I found that I had...nothing in my queue. I'd designed a part for someone, finished QCing the last order I had, and then wrestling with Ubuntu to install MATLAB and Eagle on the computer running the new CNC mill. It was very strange. But not unwelcome! I like being able to stare at TVTropes and Metafilter guilt-free.

Which I've been doing a lot of, because my GM team for the tenday we're writing is picking up speed. We're juuust about out of the major planning phase, and I expect the hardcore writing of characters, mechanics, and plot to start soon. Which is good, as one of the GMs got hired by a company out in SF and will be remote for the majority of the writing. Good thing we have a repo.
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ultranos: souji with his head stuck inside a tv (tv is eating my brain)
1) I am dithering about Yuletide. I'm not convinced about my ability to be inspired enough to write anything to completion in a month. I don't even know what fandoms I'd request or offer. Mostly because I haven't looked at the list yet.

2) I made mushroom pasta for dinner. This makes me exceedingly content.

3) I considered going home for Thanksgiving, but before I could make a decision, the really good deal on tickets sold out, and I'm reluctant to pay $350+ for 48 hours home. Especially when I'm going home in a month and three days. I feel bad I got my mom's hopes up, but she said she totally understands and would have done the same thing. But I am Very Good at guilt. On the positive side, I don't have to deal with TSA four times in less than 2 weeks.

But I'm seeing who else in the area is a Thanksgiving orphan and semi-hosting a Thing. Although I'm itching to make a beef tenderloin or leg of lamb instead of a turkey.

4) A friend of mine showed me a video last night that has since become the craziest earworm EVER: The Complete History of the Soviet Union, Through the Eyes of a Humble Worker, Arranged to the Melody of Tetris


5) Another reason I'm dithering on Yuletide is that I should probably spend my energy generating ideas and the basic plot structures for this tenday I'm writing. I haven't had to work my gamewriting chops this hard since Centauri, and in terms of writing, I'd say Synchronicity (our tentative title) is a level above at least. Oh god, this thing is going to be crazy. Hopefully also awesome. If we're really good, it'll be crazy awesome.

6) This is having no mention of the crazy 'gateverse AU that popped into my head today and that [livejournal.com profile] abyssinia4077 has, of course, totally encouraged. I blame Darker than BLACK, actually.
ultranos: girl in gekkougan uniform with monsterous shadow (casting shadows)
*tilts head*

I seem to have A Thing for creating "exceedingly reluctant rulers". You know, when they find out a fief/kingdom/planet wants to make them ruler after they've been raised away from it, they keep trying to figure out how to give it back. Crown = Do Not Want.

Amusingly, both of them are female, in systems that rely on first-born inheritance, regardless of gender. Oh boy, I have A Thing. (Yes, Ashura, I am talking about you, however did you guess? You just got company in this category.)

In other, non-original fic news, I wish this apocafic I'm plotting would grow the rest of its plot. I'm so going to be tapped out of crazy Gnostic traditions, various mythologies, and legends really damn soon at this rate. Because I had the brilliant idea of adding a tenday on top of plotting the aforementioned P3/P4 apocafic. Why is the tenday add to that load? Because the last time I wrote a tenday, every corporate research project in game was organized via mythological tradition by company (one named all their projects after Norse, another from really esoteric Jewish tradition, etc).

I am insane.
ultranos: cam reaching for a sword, with text "guys, you DID check for traps, right?" (TRAP!)
1a. The fake TV show meme has made it abundantly clear, in case I didn't know it before, that I'm too goddamned used to writing LARPs (Guild, specifically) and other Epics in general. :P What do you mean, I don't have to cast 50 people? I don't get it!

1b. It also makes clear that I know voice actors way better than live-action. My past may be showing a bit here.

2. Wisconsin is kinda boring.

3. I'm supposed to fly back tomorrow. Of course, there's both a Winter Weather Advisory and Wind Advisory in Middlesex Co. for tonight and tomorrow morning. Is easy travel during the winter just once too much to ask?

4. IAP starts Monday! FINALLY!

5. I really do need to figure out the rule system and scenarios to this tabletop I want to start soon. (Time police, yo.) d20 isn't what I want. I'm looking at GURPS, but the combat system is making me wary. I'm half-tempted to write my own based off the d100 system. I also might be insane.
ultranos: ashley from Trace Memory (white-haired girl) sleeping (head down go to sleep)
-Crack fic has broken 10k words. I haven't even finished Part I (really, Act I) yet. I'm vaguely worried about how the hell I'm gonna post this thing. Vaguely. I'll figure something out when the time comes. (Er, sorry if this seems like all I'm talking about lately. It's just seriously eaten my brain.)

-Speaking of brain nomming, I've apparently found myself writing a SIK game based on the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 'verse. Why, I don't know. But I made a fusion table! Hurray for d20s.

-We will NOT speak of how my character for my friend's Persona-based tabletop seems to be influencing the crack fic development. She is accomplishing this mostly by looking sad and pathetic at me in my head and why can I not resist a character's puppy-eyes?!

I swear there is something wrong with me.

-We will also not speak of how the Atlantis d20 rulebook has stalled. All I need is flavor text on NPCs, an intro, and damn vehicle stats. It's really just grunge work that I keep being a lazy ass about and putting off.

-I should really buy my Chicago con tickets at some point. And I guess autograph tickets so I can get the Core d20 book signed, because I am a dork.

-Leverage makes me happy. We just finished s1 last night. We're savoring it, like a fine wine. Okay, actually, we're well aware that once we catch up, getting our fix is going to be less immediate.
ultranos: daniel jackson stares at coffee mug and wonders "who drank my coffee?" (need caffeine; this is unacceptable)

  • One of the hardest things about writing this rulebook is not actually having to crunch numbers and figure out stats for pretty much everything. In the 5 years since I first started playing the d20 system, I've gotten a lot better at seeing what things work and what don't. No, the thing that's really hard is trying to make everything that happened in SGA (and SG-1) at least plausible in the d20 system. (Okay, a lot of it requires an unholy number of critical successes, but we are just going to bloody handwave that.) This means determining internally consistent rules for how weapons, ships, random computer tech, Wraith weirdshit, Ancient weirdshit, etc all work.

    Yes. I am trying to hammer in consistency into the 'gateverse.

    May god have mercy on my soul.

  • I found myself on Friday trying to teach myself CSS. I learned how to do HTML 10 years ago, so I guess I figured I might as well try to join the 21st century in terms of web design. Verdict: it's cute, and it's a nice way to cut down on all the bloody FONT tags, and I suppose it can save time. On the other hand, I am incredibly minimalist in my views on web design. So.

  • MetaFilter had an interesting link the other day: Pilot School. It's the drafts of the premiere episodes for a bunch of different series, such as Farscape, The West Wing, Firefly, Star Trek: TNG, and the Battlestar Galatica miniseries. Since these are the drafts of the pilots, you can see where the differences are between them and what actually aired.
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ultranos: daniel jackson stares at coffee mug and wonders "who drank my coffee?" (need caffeine; this is unacceptable)
Note to Self: Must not design human-form replicator stats so that they are the equivalent of fighting a Tarrasque. That would be poor.

Also, must refrain from putting in the stats for a gazebo.

Maybe one day soon I will stop eating/breathing d20 so I can work on something else, dammit. The likelihood of that, however, is rapidly diminishing. (Oh god, someone tear my brain's attention away from this. I have HOMEWORK I need to do!)
ultranos: ibuki maya sitting at laptop in shorts and a t-shirt, eating a cookie, with prompt \\ "Rocks fall; everybody dies." (this would be much simpler)
So, this weekend, I managed to do not a lick of homework. However, considering I was working until roughly 8PM on Friday desperately trying to finish a 7-page paper and then sleeping for 12 hours straight, I think that's okay.

Also, I looked at my whiteboard and realized that I had set the goal of finishing the Atlantis d20 rulebook by IAP, and then promptly didn't touch it for over a month. So I started making progress on that this weekend. (It's...sort of like NaNoWriMo? But less words and more number crunching.) I'm glad I decided to do the hardest parts first, because even though it feels like I've barely done anything, once this is done, the rest will get done fast in comparison.

(When I mentioned to a friend today before our weekly gaming run that I was writing the rulebook, she told me she'd mock me for it, if she didn't already have her own crazy hobbies.)

Was also talking with [livejournal.com profile] shanghairain about it, because he's a great person to bounce ideas off of for background and mechanics. I can't tell him how I'm changing the plot entirely for the Project, since he's likely to be one of my players, but he can tell me when a mechanics thing isn't balanced right, or a background idea sounds stupid. Which is really important, because I'm very likely to do a few cast changes prior to what "Rising" would have been for the SGA redo campaign, and this totally changes the dynamic. (Which also has the added bonus of negating a lot of problems metagaming could cause.)

Also, this probably brings the number of times I've rewritten s8 of SG-1 and s1 of SGA or am working on rewriting it up to 2.
ultranos: sam and part of the derivation of navier-stokes (controlling the flow of ideas)
This is all [livejournal.com profile] shanghairain's fault, by the way.

So, I was mentioning to him about the possibility of rebooting Spearhead, the short-lived Stargate campaign I ran. The last session left me with a one-shot NPC who demanded to be plot-critical and a need to figure out a better plot. On the reboot, it would start later in the timeline (in s8 instead of right after "Heroes"), among other things. The mouthy NPC's plot was/is better suited to the Pegasus Galaxy than the Milky Way, so eventually, the PCs would have to get to Atlantis.

Then the brainstorm struck: redo SGA entirely, from "Rising", as a tabletop.

It's been done before: a friend of mine redid the Star Wars prequel trilogy as a tabletop, to fantastic results.

The only thing is, the Stargate d20 books are rare and sort of out of print. There is no Atlantis supplement, beyond the random .doc file I found on the internet last year. And I can write a better one. So I am apparently writing a supplement .pdf document for an Atlantis setting. For a Spearhead reboot in the Pegasus. Where the PCs will have to deal with rationing everything (including bullets), where Elizabeth Weir has a +50 Bluff and Diplomacy modifier, and where maybe things will go differently.

I have a good feeling about this one.
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ultranos: daniel sleeping on a nuke (sleep-depped don't cover it)
(Aside: I'm amused that no one is going to try to get me to talk about something else here. I'm just going to chalk that up right now to the fact that a significant percentage of you know me in RL and can easily ask me to my face.)

I'm happy to say that it looks like my friend's homebrew tabletop system (based in the Persona universe) seems to work very well. I will admit I was skeptical about the ease and randomness involved in using tarot cards as a source of entropy and your card hand to determine what spells you can cast in combat. (Dice are still used for some things.) But overall, it's very fun.

Seeing this experiment's promising beginnings (last night was the first run), I'm a little less scared of attempting my own campaign setting and altering rules for either of the two games I'm writing. Especially since the one I'm working on first is not nearly as far as a homebrew system. Now that I've gotten over that hurdle, all that's left is designing the universe, writing it, and making sure it's not terribly broken. :) Okay, yeah, that's a lot harder than it sounds.

Since the party is nominally supposed to be space pirates, one of the very first things I need to figure out is the scope. The largest would be the entire Milky Way galaxy (a la Mass Effect and Stargate, for example) or a small portion of the galaxy. Really, what this boils down to is how effective I want to make FTL (or by what mechanism FTL works on. No, I'm not using "warp speed", thank you very much.) After determining that, I can figure out the various organizations and governments the intrepid band of scoundrels (the party) will have to deal with.

Also, on an not-entirely-unrelated-note, I think I'm going to have to start digging up my old notes on Centauri. I believe I will be revisiting that universe very soon. :)

(See, this is what I start thinking about at work these days when I get zonked out on MATLAB.)
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ultranos: jack o'neill deciding there are not enough painkillers in the world. (my poor head)
[livejournal.com profile] auguris, you're going to hate me for this. Consider this fair warning.

One would think, with how steampunk is becoming more and more popular (er, according to it appearing suddenly in a weekly newspaper here. As my friend DMark said, "wait, does this mean we liked it before it was mainstream?"), that it would be easier to find media within the genre. Actually, scratch that. One would think that with some of the first great "sci-fi" novels being steam-driven (Jules Verne-inspired works, I'm looking at you), and with series like Neal Stephanson's Baroque Cycle, there would be a decent tabletop RPG system that uses steampunk.

Apparently, they're all either out of print or just plain suck. And no, DnD 3.5ed Eberron campaign setting doesn't quite fit the bill. Trust me, I've played it.

It's getting to the point where I'm getting ready to just throw my hands up in the air and say I'm going to write my own system. Actually, that might be the best way to go. I just need a decent idea of how/what to base the mechanics on. (A friend of mine is starting a campaign in the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 'verse, specifically one based on Persona 3. Combination of dice and essentially gin rummy...with tarot cards. Rules doc is about 12 pages, and it'll be neat to see if this works.) I'd just need to get off my phobia of writing mechanics for non-LARPs. This may be because I don't trust myself to have enough experience to draw on for tabletop mechanics, having only really played d20 and Shadowrun, while I've got a decent sense nowadays on what mechanics work or not for a LARP. Do I want to keep dice? Probably, because they're great for random number generation. But how everything interacts, what kinds of rules, etc? That's going to take some work. It'd be far, far easier to find a system that mostly does what I want and tweak it.

On the other hand, creating my own system for this allows me to make up all the rules and make the universe feel like a coherent...thing. And since I think for this game I want to focus a bit more on the role-playing aspect than mechanics god-modding, I can vastly simplify the rules and mechanics to force that aspect. Because the simple fact right now is that I can't find a rulesystem that will work for a world that is very steampunk, has Lovecraftian horrors lurking perhaps, but is set in essentially Boston circa modified 1950s or even modified present-day (modern technolgy, only steampunk. Yes, this means we have airships. Because airships are cool.) Some come close, but actually getting my hands on a rulebook might require a minor Act of God.

Then again, I can always put this on the backburner and work on "Pirates of Dark Matter" campaign setting, which I've been promising people. Also, on a minorly different note, I think I'm writing yet-another-LARP. Yeah, this always happens.
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ultranos: daniel jackson stares at coffee mug and wonders "who drank my coffee?" (need caffeine; this is unacceptable)
Currently working on the setting for "Pirates of Dark Matter". It wants to be more serious than I originally thought, which means extra work for me, dammit. At least it's just the setting and not mechanics, since I think d20 Future (off of d20 Modern) should work. If I end up liking the setting enough, I might figure out where I can post it (I'm writing it in .tex, so it'll be a .pdf). I guess this will mean I get off my butt about actual webspace.

The other campaign I'm apparently writing is still searching for a system to use. Who knew steampunk with magic was so freaking hard to find.

End of term cannot come soon enough. Yeesh. Also, I wish the trees would stop trying to kill me.

Tagged by [livejournal.com profile] abyssinia4077...

Leave a comment and I will
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ultranos: sam and part of the derivation of navier-stokes (controlling the flow of ideas)
I put Spearhead on hiatus until after finals, because not even I could deal, even though I have about 1.5 runs planned out already. At least this gives me more time to make sure the runs are good, and to iron out some plot things. I should also actually stat out the NPC SG team my players seem to get paired up with, and actually give them, you know, personalities. Although they spontaneously started developing character when I was just having them be talking roles. And work on an NPC who was originally just going to be a throwaway character but has instead wormed his way into being integral to the plot. Pesky NPC. *pets him*

Also, I think it's been pretty firmly established that Spearhead takes place in an AU. Why? Well, we have some examples of competent Goa'uld, and now an Ancient who apparently had some sense of moral responsibility. Um...

(And that's all I can say here because I know I've got players who read this. Just as well that these points have already been pretty much revealed. Hm. Maybe I should make a filter when I need to yell for help at people.)

On a completely different topic, I need to figure out how the rules and terminology of poker. I know the basics (all that decking was good for something), but I don't feel like looking through the tarballs of past games just to find a damn hacking greensheet. Especially since this has absolutely nothing to do with a game.
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ultranos: daniel jackson stares at coffee mug and wonders "who drank my coffee?" (need caffeine; this is unacceptable)
The last 16 hours before game are always the hardest. People spontaneously punting the game in this time period make it worse.

I survive the next 18 hours, and it'll be done. Then I can do something else. Thank god Monday is a holiday.

(And SGA tonight was a wonderful distraction.)
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ultranos: it's a duckcat (ZOMG DUCKCAT)
(And therefore, there is duckcat...)

Draft of all the sheets for Troy I needed to do are done, and as a bonus, we even have the game casted. Still got about half a day to go over it and make sure there isn't something truly stupid in there like giving players 15HP and having 24 different types of weapons/damage and expecting them to keep track of it.

Now to hope I don't die during prod Friday night/Saturday morning...

And, seeing as how I don't have anything due the rest of this week, maybe I can even, you know, write other things. (Also, need to stop listening to FFXII OST. Doing so while thinking about Stargate leads to truly bizarre and interesting lines of thought.)
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ultranos: daniel jackson stares at coffee mug and wonders "who drank my coffee?" (need caffeine; this is unacceptable)
I am currently finishing up writing Troy with my co-GM. Which is good, because this game is running on, um, Saturday. Ack. Thank god it's a SIK game, and not a 4+ hour, roleplay-intensive LARP. I'd probably be going absolutely batshit if it were the latter. At least this means I'm not sleeping on a couch somewhere on campus.

The crazy thing is, though, that I sometimes miss actually writing the longer games. Centauri was insane. Why I ever thought writing a tenday in six months was a good idea I'll never know. But it was a great learning experience, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel good about how people are still talking about it nearly a year later. Which is why I keep finding myself coming back to "Gotterdammerung" and wondering. I can't do it alone, but that little idea keeps gnawing at the back of my head. Because it could be great.
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ultranos: cecilia adelhyde holding spell book (Default)

Memoranda from the Usual Suspects

Media List:

Currently Watching:
-- Supergirl(hiatus)
--Pitch (hiatus)

Currently Playing:
--[null] (PS3)
--[null] (PS2)
--Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
--[null] (PSP)
--[null] (XBox360)
--Endless Legend (PC)
--Fallout: New Vegas (PC)

Currently Reading:


-The Rook, Daniel O'Malley
-Fortune's Rising, Sara King

-Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy, David Daley


"So she's good cop, he's bad cop, you're morally-questionable cop, and I'm set-things-on-fire cop."

"Sounds about right."


"WARNING: When attempting to be clever, make sure you not actually just being stupid."


"Did you remember to sacrifice the goat before burning the ISO to the DVD-R?"

"Crap! Um, I've got a charred piece of meat here."

"That's called a steak. That's dinner. What about the sacrifices?"


"I escape through quantum-tunneling. What do I need to roll for that?"


"Why is it called a 'Monkeylord'?"

"Because it looks like a spider."


"I have a moral objection to this problem. It implies microwaving a steak."


"Did you eat the crazy cookies this morning?"


"The GPU goes 4 by 4, hurrah, hurrah."

April 2017

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