Monthly Review, February 2022
Well, we did better than last year, weather-wise at least. Had a few cold fronts move through Texas, bringing us down to an unreasonable 18ºF or thereabouts for a while. But the power stayed on, we stayed warm, and the chickens just fluff up and pay it no mind. We even made it nice and cozy in the coop for them, but they loved just hanging out and even sleeping on their outside roost, so, good for them. Anyway, onward.
Still doing the Software Engineering Senior Instructor thing at Flatiron School. I started a new cohort this month with eighteen (give or take) students, and it’s been pretty good. I’ve got a couple of great technical coaches working with me—super enthusiastic, and really good with the teaching style and student interactions—so that’s a bit of a load off. Between that and the central lecture taking care of most things, I’m spending most of my non-administrative time doing one-on-ones and running review sessions, or filling in the bits the other folks didn’t get to.
We had a woo-woo goal setting thing come out of the quarterly People With Three-Letter Titles meeting, so I had to sit down and make up some stuff. (I asked, and yes, bonuses are theoretically tied to achieving the goals you set for yourself, which… has more problems than I care to address here.) So instead of sandbagging for an easy win, I basically gave myself three impossible tasks. (Mostly things that I believe are essential for a successful education program, which are completely out of my control, and will never be implemented from above, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) So. We’ll see how that goes.
Feeling mostly good these days, kind of low energy, but still getting there. Struggling with keeping all the sugar and carbs out of my diet, but my morning fasting blood sugar is still hanging out around 110, which isn’t terrible, but could be better. I still need to get more exercise and move around more, but. I’m “exercising” relatively regularly, but that’s mostly getting wiped out playing VR games, so, I guess that’s okay. Still struggling to get regular sleep in—that seems to have made a difference both in numbers and feeling.
Went to the dentist to get some crowns put in because my molars are still falling apart, but those are all on now, so hopefully it’ll be at least another six months or so before a major tooth emergency. Did my three-ish month checkup with the doctor, and she says my cholesterol, my blood pressure, blood sugar and A1 sauce and all that are okay, so just keep doing the same thing for a while, I guess, and see what happens. Also did my last virtual session with a dietician and nurse from Seaton—most of what they told me was not new information, but it was worthwhile, and made me feel better about the stuff I am doing.
So… yeah, I got an offer from that Sundae place on the house, and it was about half of what seems reasonable, both from my perspective, and from other folks who are actual realtors and stuff. So, I told them no thank you, but now I have a decent checklist from their inspection to start going through and fixing stuff, so maybe by the time Pai goes to college, I can get a few bucks out of this place and move somewhere more suitable.
To that end, I guess I’ll start working down my list from top down—I thought an easy win would be getting someone to remove all the critters (and their… stuff) out of the attic and walls, because we’ve been at war with the mice, and it’s baby season all around. (I’ve live trapped and released a dozen or so in the woods far away, but a couple unfortunately met bad ends.) We’ll probably get a bunch of cute little buddies outside, but also lots of pee and poop and maybe dead baby animals inside, so that’s not great. Unfortunately, the critter removal guy looked around and said that there’s no way he can do anything in good conscience, because anything he removed and sealed up would be undone in pretty short order due to the terrible condition of the roof. So… roof guy first it is.
Again, I’m not in any hurry, and I do have some budget for this. (I still need to see if I can get any rebates from the city or get any more covered by insurance—the last thing I got from my insurance was basically nothing, so I’m on my own for the roof, for now.) I got some recommendations from folks on facebook and whatnot again, and got a roofing guy out here to take a look—his estimate for replacing the decking and shingles was way less than I was expecting, so we’re gonna go ahead with that, and then call the critter guy back in whenever that gets done. And then continue leisurely down the list.
Everyone else is still doing great, not much changed on the home front, which is really pretty nice.
This month’s game development was primarily writing, editing, testing, laying out, promoting, and publishing Grackle Teeth! It was inspired by an off-hand remark about bird games by another game designer on twitter, and my hyperfocus just took it from there. It’s a solo journaling game (or keepsake game, if you want to get fancy with the journal, I guess) about (not) surviving in a post-apocalyptic city surrounded by mutated carnivorous birds. It’s pretty bleak (based on the Wretched and Alone SRD, so, yeah) but that’s a thing, so if you like solitary tragedy, give it a look. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, and I might come back to do a print run or something later.
(I also picked up a copy of the Bullwinkle and Rocky Role Playing Party Game on ebay, so expect great things from that soon.)
It feels weird to spend even a month concentrating on one thing—I didn’t even get to work on my “top priority” project (Icebox: Timeline) at all, and I certainly didn’t crank out a half dozen little things like I did last month, but at least it’s done.
Playing-wise, I’m still running our weekly game of The Between on stream every Friday—that’s with Nichole, Heath, and Peter—which is amazing, and you should totally come watch and follow because I like making numbers go up. And our Star Wars flavored hack of Blades in the Dark (Stars in the Dark with Anders, Xai, Rich, and Steven) just hit our 19th or 20th session, which may be the longest run of a single game I’ve played since college. It’s also going great, but our scoundrels on Level 1313 are in it bad with a lot of bad people, so we’ve been talking about how we’d like to continue if everything goes south. It’s a great group, and I’m super happy to keep playing whatever we wind up playing with them.
I also ran a one-shot (for now) of Brindlewood Bay for Nichole’s sister Caitlin and her boyfriend Zach, which went the way Brindlewood goes (which is almost always good!). I don’t know if we’ll pick it back up because scheduling, but it was a nice time. We also finished up our game of Once More Into the Void with Chris and Jo—like I think I said last time, I’m a big fan of these Firebrands-style games, and I’m really eager to see the final version of this one!
I also got into a reasonable amount of games on the Gauntlet:
- Nightmirror, a Victorian monster hunter flavored hack of Psi*Run that uses tarot cards instead of dice (with David, Darin, Kae, and Kyle).
- A playtest of Vow of the Knights Aspirants: Into the Bleakwood, a super solid Arthurian PBtA game that was loads of fun, and I’d love to play again sometime. (This was with Alexi, Brandon, David, and Greg.)
- I facilitated another playtest of Icebox: Timeline that weekend (with Pat, Sebastian, Erez, and Jim)—that’s still a super solid game, but I still got some good feedback that should be pretty easy to address, so the bulk of the work there is still editing and layout.
Things I’ve watched:
- Murderville (one episode, it’s awful)
- Peacemaker (all of it, it’s amazing, never skipped the intro)
- Severance (super creepy and a bit too real surreal office horror—love it)
And… I think that’s it? Lots of youtube and whatnot to kill time here and there, of course.
We’re still playing our usual VR games with folks on Saturdays—Walkabout Golf, Demeo, and Ragnaröck—and wordle like usual. I’m still doing Evolve in the background—did a real Ascension and murdered a bunch of civilizations in the Evil universe, woo—and tried out Ynglet a little, which is interesting, but I don’t have the attention for it.
Other than that, I played a little bit of a solo board game (Voyages, which is light and cute), and I’ve read a ton or RPG books (like the Labyrinth and Dark Crystal games, which look amazing), but this month has been mostly output, just a bit of input.
- I got all my tax stuff together and sent in to Suz, my amazing accountant, so whenever that comes around, it’ll come around, and that’s off my plate.
- Still doing my daily Klingon on Duolingo, which is coming along.
- Got back into the wood shop and cleaned a bunch of stuff up so I could actually do things, and cut a bunch of pieces to make a set of squirrel picnic tables for folks.
- The chickens are still cute and they have fuzzy butts.
- Continue along with organizing, planning, and executing on the house remodel/repair checklist.
- Crank out a solid Powered By Moose and Squirrel SRD, both so I can get a game nailed into it, and so other folks have a since simple framework to knock out comedy RPGs with.
- Continue playing games with my regular groups, and on the Gauntlet.
- Keep cooking and eating good stuff, doing my version of exercise, and keeping track of my health numbers.
- Keep on truckin’ with the job, and get these folks through the Phase 2 React material.
- Just, like, be cool, man.