Monthly Review, August 2023

Marc Majcher
9 min readSep 3

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donut and coffee

Another month, another review…

Homestead

It has been over a hundred degrees fahrenheit every single day here for at least a couple of months—mostly hovering around 104–106. It’s fucking miserable and ridiculous and I think this is our last summer in Texas.

I’ve finally got the downspout hydroponic system set up inside—I still get a drip or two now and then, but for the most part I feel comfortable running it, even when I’m not around. The top rack is almost entirely basil now, which I don’t really use that much, but the bunny loves it, and worst comes to worst, I can just start giving them away. I moved a few of them outside (including the pretty sizeable “mother” plant that I grew from one little stolen pinch from a plant at the grocery store), but yeah, infinite basil hack. (I also had a half dozen basil plants growing in orange juice cartons, kratky style, but clipped those and moved them to the big system because they were getting out of control.)

I’ve also got a bunch of grand rapids lettuce cranking away in there that I’m nibbling on now and then, and some romaine/coz coming up soon—I don’t have anything in the bottom rack, but I’ve got about a hundred bell and hot pepper seedlings looking for a home—again, some of them are outside in containers in the back or in the sweet potato patches out front (which are going nuts), but I still have way more than I have space for here, so if you need some peppers, holler at ya boy. I did manage to get a pretty sizeable harvest of peppers from the current crop outside, and made some super tasty hot sauce with them, so I’ve got a pint or so of that in the freezer now.

Our corpse flower is still doing fine, given that it’s not really in a super condusive environment in here. I put it outside every now and then, but it is *way* too hot to leave it out for more than an hour or so—I already managed to badly burn some of the leaves, so it’s recuperating by the other plants here for now. I’ll eventually figure out some kind of heated and humidified deal for it, but that’s another project. Outside, I’ve built up another nice little hot compost pile, so we’ll have another couple of wheelbarrows full of the good stuff in a month or so.

The chickens are doing just fine—I put misters up for them so they don’t cook in the heat (RIP Lucky). They’ve got a steady supply of black soldier fly larva coming, too, so they’re real happy about that.

Indoors, we got the new bunny enclosure up in the living room—Ampersand has much more room to play and loaf around in, and he gets plenty of running around time, so he’s pretty happy. I also installed a glass washer thing in the sink—it was pretty easy, now that I have the right tools to drill holes in quarter inch steel and whatnot, and only cost like thirty five bucks, so it feels like a luxury, but totally worth it.

Health

I’ve had another run in with the cavity creeps—one of my molars has been acting up lately, so I got that drilled out and fitted for a crown. The first one that came back wasn’t fitting right, so they sent it back, and I’ll be in a temporary for another week or so, which is fine.

Been feeling kind of ugh, but kind of okay this month. My sleep has been real shitty lately, but now that school is starting for Pai, I’m getting back on a more regular schedule, eating a slightly better breakfast, and things feel like they’re turning around. But yeah, for the first half, lots of being unable to get to sleep until super late, falling asleep during the day, all that. So, we’ll see if the new schedule holds up. That’d be great.

Been having some breathing and wicked hives and itching stuff going on because allergies are super balls right now, and I’m sure being stuck inside from the impossible heat and everything out there hasn’t been great for my depression. I also had a fun little bout of vertigo near the end of the month, but I went back and did some Epley maneuver stuff, and that knocked it right out.

Games

All right, buckle up.

RPGs

  • Finished up our game of Trophy Gold in the Smoldering Moor. Mads is always a delight to play with, and Kevin is a super smooth GM, and it was great all around.
  • Got through our third downtime in our Beam Saber Calazcon mega-campaign—it’s going to be a few weeks before we get to the next mission while everyone else catches up, but it’s gonna be a doozy.
  • Ran a game of The Empire Never Ended for Games on Demand at GenCon Online! Great time as always. (I totally messed up my schedule and had to cancel a couple of games, too, but that’s how it goes, sometimes.)
  • Our Monday night game of Public Access is still barreling along—we’ve been hitting those Odyssey Tapes, just got into Starlight Kingdom, and fixing to jump into the Night of the Bone Wolves soon! So excited.
  • Played my second 5e game of the year (WHO EVEN AM I) when Mike Nystul invited me over for a “horror” one-shot at his brother’s birthday housecon, BryCon. I got to play with some improviser friends I hadn’t seen in a while (Shannon, Emily, Barrett!), so it was a good time.
  • Still running our super high heroic fantasy game of Defy the Gods on Thursdays—wraith pirates, giant whales made of water, a Neo-Atlantean cult, plots to kill the god of Death (or the Sea, or Sex/Snakes/Secrets/Song, or, you know, all of them) and just our heroes being the most ludicrous badasses in history. We’re probably going to start winding down soon, but man, is it a ride.
  • Nic and I played the first session of a science fiction horror incursion for Trophy Dark—Allura—run by Mads, which was super creepy fun.
  • Reaching the official end of our Sunday morning run of Hit the Streets: Defend the Block with Rich, but I think we’re going to tack on some more sessions to wrap it up a bit more, which I am 100% for, because it’s a blast.
  • I made another game! This one’s based on the dance hit of the summer, All of the Dream. Super dumb little 1990s eurodance hack of Lasers and Feelings/Honey Heist, but I like it.
  • Read through Slugblaster in preparation for running it soon!

Video Games

  • Played a bunch of Beat Saber, some by myself for the exercise, some with Nic for the fun of it.
  • Did the usual Walkabout Golf with the usual group, and then again with Nic some to hang out.
  • Also played some VR Bocce with the guys, and boy are those muscles sore.
  • I’m doing some clearing out of my Steam library games, so I started with the biggest one, SOMA, which I did not have high hopes for as a horror-ish first person shooter type thing, but there was no shooting, just a terribly claustrophobic trying not to die creep around this underwater(?) facility, intercut with a heavy dollop of existential crisis. Way better than I expected.
  • Played through Superliminal in a pretty short burst—it did what it advertised, and not much more, which was fine. Short, weird, good.
  • Toodled around in the new (to me) Factorio demo, which, eh.
  • Trudged through Disco Elysium—I’d heard such great things about this, but… yeah. It looks real pretty, and the writing and voice acting is great, but… just too much exposition that doesn’t matter, lots of walking around back and forth to run errands for clues or whatever, and… yeah, just felt tedious and meaningless. I’m glad to have played it, but I can’t really say that I enjoyed it at the time.
  • Finishing off the month strong with a playthrough of Citizen Sleeper, another Steam title that I’ve heard great things about, and, well, I’m not mad about it. It is very pretty for what it is, and the mechanics are neat, but it’s very much something that could be a browser game without (or probably even with) the pretty 3d backgrounds that scroll past as you click on menus around the space station. It’s not bad, but it’s not really what I was expecting, I guess.

Media

XD (does this mean something? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Take better notes, Marc.)

  • Finished the second season of Strange New Worlds, which is excellent. Best Trek to date, I think.
  • Watched Chambers on Netflix, with some creepy heart transplant stuff. It was fine.
  • Saw Talk to Me at the Alamo, and it is great. More like that, please.
  • Also went to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (Mutant Mayhem?) and it was super fun, and 100% the best TMNT media to exist since the original comics. (I have a lot of Turtle feelings that I am happy to go on about at length, but not here.)
  • Watched the 2022 re… boot? of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the 50th anniversary of the events in the movie, and WOW it is bad and dumb and let’s never talk about it again.
  • Got around to watching Tenet, which I did not like.
  • Finished up listening to the first season of the Magnus Archives, which is pretty great. Trying to fit my other podcasts in, but it’s hard when it’s too hot to go out for walks.
  • Finally got around to watching Prey, which is also very, very good.
  • Went to see Bottoms with Nic, and yep, that was really good too! Pretty good month for watchin’ things, on the whole.

Work

Made it through the last phase of my current cohort, and got everyone all graduated and stuff, wheee. We had a bit of a thing to manage in the middle there, but it all worked out fine. Now I’m going to be off teaching for a month or two while I’m “on rotation”, which means filling in for folks who take time off, and helping out the curriculum team with stuff. That’s about it.

Other Stuff

It was my birthday on the 24th! I’m 53 now, which seems impossible—we’ve got a team working up those numbers, and should have a more accurate count shortly.

Finally got the cheapo but still pretty decent laser engraver/cutter up and working! Gave myself smoke inhalation for a day, but I put together a janky little vent and hood for it, and that seems to be totally working. I’ve been playing with it a little, but I think I’m going to need an air assist to do anything with acrylic, so that’s on the way.

I had lunch with my friend Suzanne, who I haven’t seen before the pandemic, which was really, really nice! She also brought me some skulls, which is always appreciated.

Nic was in DC for a couple of weeks for work/school stuff, and we missed each other a whole bunch. Fortunately, Walkabout Golf on the Quest 2 is a great place to hang out and whatnot, so we did that a bunch of times, and it was really nice.

Oh yeah, and I actually got a good start on cleaning out my shop again. It still needs a *lot* of work before it’s actually usable, but it’s a nice first step.

Pai’s back in school! And off to a school trip already!

Plans

Nothing huge this month. Just gonna kind of hunker down and do my thing.

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Marc Majcher

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