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: Hey hey! We finally did a release of Eyebrowse!

: Envelope Watch II: Day One! I sent off an envelope to Mike's new place in Maine, containing a gift I've been meaning to give to him for over a year.

: Everyone at work is in a really good mood: we just had a great pep talk in the form of a conference call from an employee of a new client. For years, their software development had been done with little coordination or cross-department communication, and the resulting mess was recently exacerbated by an attempt to use Rational's suite of apps. They switched to SourceCast and cleaned up the mess within two months, and now they're ridin' high. It felt really good to hear about their success with software I helped write.

: Wow, my day stayed good. I implemented an awesome new feature (project and category tree display) which was much easier to implement than I'd thought it was going to be, and which gave me some good ideas for a redesign I need to do.

: "Someday soon I'm gonna tell the moon about the crying game." What the hell does the moon care about the crying game?

:

I have a couple souvenirs from my trip to Texas. I have a little beanbag-type penguin which my mother bought me. I have some books I bought at Half Price Books (more of which anon). I have a Nutra-Grain bar Andy's mother gave me which I still haven't eaten (not technically a souvenir). I have a garter which I caught at Kristin's wedding (it was the second garter they threw; they kept shucking garters off of Kristin's leg and throwing them into the crowd, which was pretty funny).

I also have a reciept from HEB (a Texas supermarket) which I've been hanging on to solely to mention it here. Our first day in Texas we were at a hotel which offered a not very impressive continental breakfast, so we went across the corner to HEB, bought a bunch of food, and invited the aunts and cousins over to partake. I fed about 10 people for $33, which was pretty good. Reproduced below is the list of food from the receipt:

QUAKR GRANOLA BR CHOC PNT
DANNON LA CREME STRAWBERR
HEB HEAVY WT. CUTLERY COM
*B* HEB PRINTED PLATE 6 7
TROPICANA PURE PEMIUM WIT
PHILLY SFT CRM CHEESE REG
PHILLY SOFT CREAM CHEESE
MICKELBERRY HAM 8OZ PKG
SMOKED TURKEY BREAST 8OZ
INGLEHOFF MUSTARD SWEET H
HEB TEXAS SHAPED CHEDDAR
205 BAGELS TX ONION 2953_
BABY SWISS DELICO SLICED
LARGE BUTTER CROISSANTS 6

In particular, I would like to draw your attention to this item:

HEB TEXAS SHAPED CHEDDAR

It was a block of cheddar cheese. It cost $1.95. It was shaped like the state of Texas. My mother decided that she had to have it, so I bought it for her. For all I know she has it still.

Robert had earlier expounded his hypothesis that Texas is the only state in the union in which the citizens think of themselves primarily as citizens of their state (as opposed to American citizens or citizens of a particular city). He siezed upon the Texas cheese as evidence of this. Yup, everyone wants a piece of the Texas cheese to bolster his or her own personal argument. Not for any other reason, though--it's mild cheddar, and what fun is mild cheddar?

: Another Texas-related entry. At Half Price Books in Houston, I made quite a find: a copy of an old 1983 manual for Palladium, a role-playing game I'd vaguely heard of. It cost $10, which is a lot for a Half Price Book, but it was in good condition so I bought it.

Palladium has a lot of interesting features. It comes with a campaign setting which looks fun and full of variety. The alignment system is really great; it captures the way people act a lot better than the AD&D system does.

The book describes about five different magic systems; they're all pretty interesting, though most of them seem not to be very powerful. The main one (generic RPG wizard/priest magic) looks really well designed, and the instructions indulge in some great bashing of the annoying AD&D magic system:

Nor does the wizard forget a spell upon casting it. This is his life, spell magic and study... To forget a spell could mena his death and is a fairly ludicrous idea. This is his occupation, his livelihood, he is no longer an apprentice... To suggest that he would forget a spell is like saying a soldier might forget how to use his sword.

Most of my complaints have to do with the book itself rather than the game system. The sections are organized haphazardly, as though the book were written as hypertext and then the hypertext were automatically traversed to create a book.

The writing style is florid, sometimes, hilariously so, as in this masterpiece of redundancy:

"Generally, dwarves and elves treat each other with an air that is so cold that it could freeze an iceberg."

And the Tonight's Episode-y:

"The assassin, like the mercenary fighter, is a sword for hire; their specialty: death."

There's a new edition of the Palladium rulebook out, which allegedly fixes the stylistic problems; if that's so then my main complaints would be the paucity of supplied monsters and the seeming weakness of most of the magic systems. But no one's making you play a diabolist.


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