Monthly Review, April 2022

This month felt like it just blazed on by—I can barely recognize it as a month that’s passed, but somehow we seem do have done a whole bunch of stuff over here, so let’s get cracking.

Homestead

I’m still puttering through my Rockingham todo list—I take care of the smaller jobs, and I’ve budgeted some money to handle the big ones. This month is dropping a chunk to finish up the critter exclusion and cleanup, and it’s going well! Traps in the attic aren’t catching anything, the outside is about as sealed up as it’s going to get, and they’re coming in to do raccoon poop cleanup and sanitation upstairs in a week or two. Totally worth it. Really nice dude, too—if you need some critters got, hit up Urban Jungle Wildlife Removal and tell ’em I sent ya. After they’re done, it’s probably time to get the insulation situation (which is very bad) taken care of, see if there’s any city incentive kickback things I can sign up for, and then… well, we’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’m doing a bunch of cleanup of the ̶j̶u̶n̶k reclaimed materials that I’ve been collecting. I’ve got a nice tidy stack of pallets and old cedar fence and treated lumber and a super nice oak table that someone just put out for collection, among other things. I’m slowly getting the wood shop and the surrounding areas back into shape, too, so I can start turning all that road wood into some projects. (I already smacked together a little squirrel picnic table for a friend, so if y’all want me to make stuff for you, give me a holler.) I built a decent wood shed to get the bulk of it stored away out of the shop, but I still haven’t figured out my sheet goods storage situation, so that’s on the todo list.

I also managed to build a little storage box (not quite a shed) for the chicken feed and bedding back over by the coop, still only using the 2x4s and plywood we salvaged from the Hideout Theatre’s old risers, so that’s one pile of stuff out of the living room! We’ve been having “chicken recess” every couple of days now, which is pretty entertaining. It’s a good temperature right now to hang out in the back with them, so Didi, Gogo, Lucky, and Pozzo get to scratch around the sticks and leaves and chow down all the weeds back there while I hack down some of the overgrown brush and whatnot. It’s almost habitable back there, which is nice, and the girls love chowing down on all the fresh bugs and little snakes(!) and chasing after each other, which is delightful. (Gogo seemed pretty lethargic and sickly after one recess, so we kept an eye on her, and she was fine the next day—probably just got a crop full of long grass that may have gotten tangled up in there and gave her a tummyache for a bit.)

Pai’s been over now and then—I finally got the enamel pins that she drew back from the fabricator, and they’re super cool, so she got 50 and I got 50 and we’re gonna see who can sell them the fastest. (Spoiler alert: it’s her) She’s still going to the new school up in Hyde Park, which poses all sorts of transportation issues—I’m still angling to get her to take the bus (gasp!), which she is into, but it’s just a matter of spoons and timing for all of that. We’re talking it over with her and trying to figure out how to get her situated better over here, but it’s a process. She’ll be driving soon anyway (!!!!!), so, that’s also a thing.

Oh yeah, I finally talked with our next door neighbor (Lauren, I think) for the first time in like three years—I was out hauling lumber around, and waved, and we chatted for a few minutes, and she seems nice.

Games

Played a lot of stuff this month!

RPGs:

  • Stars in the Dark: We’re into “season 3” of our Star Wars hack of Blades in the Dark, just had our 24th session, which I think may be the longest “campaign” I’ve played since college, so that’s cool. (Anders and Steven and Rich and Xai are all super to play with!) We’re running into some scheduling hiccups, but still pressing forward with our new life as smugglers on Coruscant’s Level 1313.
  • The Between: Hargrave House is on a threat-resolving streak! They exorcised the St. James’s Street Ghost by conjuring it back (very messily) into its physical form and then… killing it again by wrapping it up in a rug and throwing it off of a cliff. That’s going to be fine. They also resolved the Creature of Cremorne Gardens by making friends with it—and its dozens of brethren—as they freed the creatures from the bonds of a cult that sought to summon them from the sea and twist them to their own purposes, but they all made off on a momma sea monster into the Thames, and it’s all gonna be fine. Now the Whateley Camera is in the hands of the mastermind Theodora Brathwaite (as is 18 St. James’s Place—she bought it from the beleaguered owners for a song), and there’s a young vampire on the loose in Limehouse, and Gareth’s old coven just pulled into town, and… it’s fine. Totally fine.
  • Trophy Gold: Finished up our Sea of Dust incursion, which was great fun. I’m not going to be able to make it to Gabriel’s next TG sessions, but I’ll definitely head back for more soon.
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics: Jumped into a random game with some discord folks, crawled through They Served Brandolyn Red, and… that was a game. Seems like folks had fun with it, so. (whisper at me for more)
  • Quest Night: I’m gonna count this under “games played” here, because that’s what it is, but it’s a lot more. The Scare for a Cure folks put on this big ol’ larp for charity every year, and it is a LOT. Nic and I went with Jason Vines and Kacey Samiee (Jason did some repair work on their dragon Clawdette, and got us some comped elite tickets!), and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a total blast. I don’t want to say too much about it, except we all enjoyed it thoroughly, and I’d love to do more with them—it seems like something you could spend a lot of time on.
  • Fiasco: Peter and Heath and Ben and I took advantage of a flex night in our schedule to try out Ben’s new John Carter of Mars-inspired playset, and it was a hoot. I haven’t played Fiasco in a long time (after playing it a lot for a good while), and it’s still as fun as I remember. Peter’s cooked up a new google sheets character keeper to run the game in, with dice rollers and everything, and it slaps. Looking forward to seeing more stuff like that in the future.
  • Cy_Borg: This is the new cyberpunk rpg from the fine folks who brought you Mörk Börg, the game that taught me where the umlaut was on the mac keyboard. Ran it for Ben and Mischa and a couple of buddies from discord (Jason and Adam), and just took it through character creation and doing recon and kicking the tires on the sample heist in the rulebook. It’s pretty cool, but pretty simple—I have some thoughts about the system and how it relates to the kind of play it pitches, but that’s for later. We’re gonna do the meat of the heist in the coming week, so you’ll have to wait until next month to hear more!

Other Games:

  • Still playing RagnaRock every day for the little exercise it gives me. The Gloryhammer DLC came out, and it is… glorious. I’m just stuck on one level-10 song on vol1, and then my thirst for conquest will be satisfied for the moment.
  • Still playing Demeo now and then on the Oculus (I refuse to call it the other thing), so that’s fun. Mostly, though, our Saturday gang has been hanging out in the sweet new Walkabout Mini Golf putting and driving range and chatting for an hour or so. It’s super relaxing, really well done, and just a cool environment to chill for a while.
  • Nic and I finally broke open the Return to Dark Tower I’ve had sitting there waiting for us, and man, it is good. I played the hell out of the original Dark Tower as a kid, and this one hits all the nostalgia bits, but also expands it greatly to make it an actual, you know, game. It’s a good size—lots of bits and pieces and options for replay value, but not overly complex. I can see us coming back to this one a bunch.
  • I started coding up a little personal demo of Tin Helm, a cute little solo dungeon-crawling game that comes in a mint tin. Probably not going to do much with is (aside using it for a medium to learn recoil), but it’s there.

Stuff I’m Making:

It’s been an uneven month—I’ve got a few things in early drafts, but I spent a lot of time and effort writing, editing, and laying out the one-page core rules sheet for Dragon’s Fire for the Together We Jam game jam. It’s a sweet little system, and I’ve put some juice into writing and designing more for it. And people seem to like it, which is cool! But yeah, it’s going to be more work than I originally specced out for myself, so I talked about it a bit today on my first design stream. Basically, I’m going to release the new parts in zine format, instead of bundling it into one big(ish) book, and try to schedule some reasonable time for them. So this coming month (PLANZ) I’m going to write up the zine for the Five Wastes, which is just the right size, gives me a solid goal to shoot for, and should be a lot of fun—and give folks more to grab onto when they run it themselves. So, keep an eye out for that.

And finally, I got a quote for all those games I shipped over to Noble Knight Games to sell! It was a little less than I’d hoped for ($1500 for 25 full moving boxes of games, probably ~600 of them), but it’s totally worth it to have that space cleared out—both mentally and physically—and not have to faff around with all the ebay and shipping and whatnot. Overall a good deal, would use again. (I could have gotten $1850 in store credit, but that would have just caused more trouble…)

Media

Saw a couple of plays, knocked out some television that was on my list, actually went out to a movie theater for the first time in a while! There’s still too many people out there for my liking, and almost none wearing masks (except us), so, considering that.

  • The Catastrophist (a play from Austin Playhouse at Trinity Street)
  • Lifted (a play from Paper Chairs in someone’s backyard)
  • The Comedy of Errors (a delightful rendition of the Shakespeare standard by the Baron’s Men at the Curtain Theater—so much fun!)
  • Everything Everywhere All At Once (Michelle Yeoh is SO GOOD and the whole thing was amazing top to bottom and I don’t even know where to start, probably the best movie I’ve seen since the last best movie I saw.)
  • The Northman (Eggers, so it was that. Competent moviemaking, but… it was fine.)
  • Watched Star Trek Discovery through the end of the second season. I still really like it, and the fanboy haters can suck it. It’s also fun that I can catch about one out of every five words the Klingons say now, so that’s fun.
  • Finished watching Severance. Jesus Fucking Christ how did they make something so perfect. Just watch it. I can’t even.

Other Stuff

I’m not doing a “work” section this time, because it’s just the same old thing. Teachin’ the javascript, teachin’ the ruby, gettin’ folks jobs. Yeehaw.

Nic took me out on a date to try out some axe throwing at the Armadillo Den. We both had a ton of fun, and I’ve totally put building an axe throwing target on my wood shop todo list.

I took my first MIG welding class at ASMBLY, a makerspace up north. The instructor was cool, and I dispelled a bunch of the apprehension I had about trying it out, with the electricity and the heat and the manliness and whatnot. I totally sucked at it, but I feel like it’s a skill I should probably get better at, so I’ll definitely be putting that on the list, too.

My buddy Joel from college was in town with his wife and kid, so we got together to get some tacos and ice cream. It was nice to meet the family, and cool to see Joel be exactly Joel still. Did a lot of good walking around, but again, lots of inside happening with a lot of people and I’m still pretty wary.

The car died on the road while Nic was driving it to an improv class! That sucked! I grabbed an uber over there to wait for the tow truck with them, and got it taken to CarMax (where I bought it) but their service guys were busy, like, forever, so I had to trek out there again to get it towed a quarter mile to the Toyota dealership just down the road. They were going to take a week to get at it, but that was still better than nothing. Got stuff squared away—I was afraid it was going to be the alternator or worse—but it wound up just being some jacked up battery terminals (which is weird, because I just replaced them because the old ones were corroded all to hell), so they gave it the once over, fixed those up, and I eventually got out of there under two hundred bucks. Phew.

I also got some fraudulent charges on my credit card a week or two ago, so I had to have that canceled and replaced, which meant that when I showed up at the garage, I didn’t have any way to pay them, but I called up the card company and got it sorted for the day, but now I have to go through… everything and change the numbers over, and that’s no fun.

Got myself a filling at the dentist early in the month, super simple and easy after all the root canals and extractions and stuff in the last year.

I found out that Nic was valedictorian at their high school, and so was their sister, but their sister got a cool engraved eagle trophy and they didn’t, so I ordered them one as a surprise, and boy, were they surprised.

In addition to not being a giant sugar monster like I’ve always been—because of my new diabeetus diagnosis and whatnot—I’m also giving a little bit of intermittent fasting a shot this month, and it’s working out pretty well. Some friends have tried it with good results, but I’m always pretty skeptical about stuff like this, so I did some reading and listening and figured out a way to try it out without starving myself or going into super deprivation mode, which I am super not into. I get a little bit hungry mornings and evenings—I only eat from noon to 8pm—but it’s not bad, and it’s definitely curtailed by late night snacky snacks and other bad habits. I think I’m actually down about ten pounds (I dunno, though, because I don’t really weigh myself) which is cool, and my fasting blood sugar has been in a really good range, and most importantly, I’m feeling good and have some energy, which is probably why I got so much stuff done this month? Anyway, the month is up, and the experiment is over, but I think I’m going to stick with it for a little while and see how it goes. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in a month or so, so we’ll see how it is by then and go from there.

Oh yeah, I got some cool junk from the curb off the neighborhood list. Sweet.

And I made a little toy that spits out Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases for no legitimate reason. Maybe writing sparks? I dunno, it was late.

Plans

I’m gonna fly for the first time since All This started, which is exciting and horrifying, since they just lifted the mask requirements for flights, and everyone is being an asshole about it. But I’m gonna get to go up and visit my dad with Nic and Pai for a week in June, and I’m super excited about that!

I’m trying to get the Majcher Arcana discord server up and running again. (JOIN US) We’ve got some folks on there from game circles, but not tipping yet, so I’m going to keep plugging away at that and shoot for it being a real thing in a month or two.

I’m also going to try streaming my design/writing stuff this month for an hour a day maybe? It’s mostly for my own sake, but if folks want to watch me write and erase a bunch of stuff in a google doc, I’m happy to host them there.

And… yeah, play more game with folks, do the work, keep baking bread, get Dragon’s Fire out, and just be cool, man. Seeya next month!

--

--

--

Teacher, Game Designer, Performer, Developer, all the things.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Thomas Middleditch? No Way!

CCs Coffee on Esplanade;

Naked and Unpaid

DAIRY-FREE BLUEBERRY DESSERT!! (Gluten-Free)

Special Announcement: Saturday Morning Sass

NO-BAKE Pumpkin Energy Balls *EASY*

About Me: Do it all, see it all, be it all.

Is It Our White House or the President’s Palace? CHOOSE!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Marc Majcher

Marc Majcher

Teacher, Game Designer, Performer, Developer, all the things.

More from Medium

Advisor Spotlight: Pedro Robledo

April 2022 — A letter to our valuable investors

A lost community — The Glitch

“Third” World Countries