Monthly Review, May 2023

Marc Majcher
8 min readJun 18, 2023

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Homestead

Still working on getting the hydroponics set up inside. I’ve got it about 80% done, but I still need to build the rack and hook up the pumps and whatnot, and the dopamine for that task has expired, so now it’s just pushing myself to the finish line, there. I still have a bunch of basil and… something else doing really well in there. I should probably transplant the basil to a more long-term spot, but, dopamine.

Outside, my ginger is going nuts, big old shoots that smell amazing, and I rescued an avocado seed from the compost that had sprouted, and that seems to be doing well, too. Speaking of rescues, the half dozen or so “dead” pepper plants I pulled out of the pile are potted and doing great, too — should be seeing some flowering and peppers on there before too long. We *may* have picked up a corpse flower seed somewhere on our travels, so that’s been slowly germinating in a pot — that’s a looong term project, so we’ll see where it goes, if anywhere.

Pictured: Jerry

We had one last rat inside — it’d been hiding out under one of my bookshelves, but I saw him going in there, got out the endoscope to see his mess and chase him out into a little cartoon trap I made with a box and a stick and some string. That worked (!) but he escaped to another shelf in the game room when I tried to slide some cardboard underneath to take him outside. I actually managed to manually get him out and into a box again, which he promptly head-butted and escaped from once more. I chased him through the kitchen and into the living room, where the back door was open — I assume he ran out that way, since I haven’t seen him at all afterward, so I hope we’re all done with the Tom and Jerry malarkey now.

Oh, I also pulled out a metric fuckton of hedge parsley—maybe better known as “tall socks destroyer” (I am not making this up)—and crammed it all into a 55-gallon drum with some leaf litter to brew up some compost tea. It smells… real bad. But come next month, we will have free-ish fertilizer forever, it looks like, so, we’ll see how that goes.

Health

Returned safely home from our trip, but I seem to have picked up something on the way back — I was masked through the airports and flights, but it could be anything. I mean, except covid, because I tested a couple of times and came up with nothing, so it’s probably just a cold. Took a week or so to recover (because I’m reverse-Wolverine), same as last time, but I think it’s all better now.

Also had some problem with some of the teeth I just had work done on — the pain is curious, because there are supposedly no nerves left up in there, but nonetheless, ow. Managed it with some advil and aggressive flossing, and it went away, again, in about a week, but I still hate it.

Brain-wise, I’ve been feeling a bit down lately — maybe the comedown and return to work from the trip — but it’s not much worse than usual, and overall things are good, so.

Games

All Cops Are Bastards — No Dungeons No Masters

Things have returned to a mostly normal schedule, game-wise.

  • We’re back to our regular Monday Public Access game, which is still totally awesome. I think this is my favorite Carved from Brindlewood rpg so far. (Although Brindlewood Bay and The Between are still *killer*.) We’ll see if that status stands when the Arkham Herald and Silt Verses games come out, but for now, this is tops. Content-wise…. man, there’s *so much* good stuff that happens, and I don’t want to spoil any of the mysteries, so check out the stream or videos for details! :D
  • Also back to our Mausritter game with the Faded Havens on Thursdays, which is still fun, but mostly because of us being us. Our mouse-adventurers finally made it into the snake sewer, murdered a bunch of roaches, and came out with the Tablet of Undeath and a bunch of other goodies, only to run smack into Samantha the Cat-Witch. (Cats in Mausritter are basically dragon-scale creatures!) Anyway, made it back, got gold and exp, etc, etc. We’re wrapping up soon, and… yeah, it’s fine.
  • Made it down to Chupacabracon for a couple days (it’s in San Marcos, so it’s a quick drive down and back from Austin) and played a game of Cthulhu Dark (which I’ve run a bunch, but never played) and Pirate Börg (which is basically a nasty pirate-themed version of Mörk Börg), which were both fun enough and well run, but … I just really appreciate the groups I play with. :D
  • And our regular Saturday game of Galaxies in Peril is coming to a head — it’s still a terrific group, but it feels like the Forged in the Dark system is maybe not a great fit for supers like this, so, we’ll see what happens. Still having a great time, though!
  • Snuck in a few games of Above the Law, a Lumen-based supers game that Rich Rogers ran, our first official session of Beam Saber for the Calazcon mega-campaign, and my first time playing Dread at BGG. Had a couple of games cancelled here and there, but that happens, and it’s all good.

Oh yeah, BGG.Spring! As usual, a fun little time, but I was feeling a bit run-down still, and took it kind of easy. Mostly played with folks from Austin (Mark, Allie, Steven, and Lisa) who we wind up only playing together at the con in Dallas, somehow. Games played:

  • Hamlet (really good! like a village, not the play)
  • Thunder Road: Vendetta (x2 — we played my deluxe kickstarter edition, and I made the right choice going out for the full deal, it’s so good)
  • Dread (as noted above — we were ghost bros, and somehow all made it out alive. turns out, I’m better at jenga than I expected)
  • Heat: Pedal to the Metal (another hot racing game — I liked it a lot, but others didn’t)
  • Arctic Scavengers (a really bleak little stripped down deck builder, it was fine)
  • Sounds Fishy (a nice little party game to wind down the night with)
Photo of The Empire Never Ended rpg book

And I finally got around to producing a print edition of The Empire Never Ended! I did a small initial run of fifty at Minuteman (who are great) so I’d have some copies for the Staple! Indie Games Day next month, but I also created a storefront on gumroad where you can order that or the very nice print edition of Grackle Teeth — have a look!

Media

  • I’ve been watching all the Philosophy Tube videos on youtube — it’s really cool to see her transition from “talking in front of a bare wall in my bedroom” to fully produced in-depth deep dives into fascinating topics with all-out costumes and makeup and sets and lighting and sound design. I guess if you work on something for ten years, you get pretty good at it. *cue existential despair*
  • Went to see La Fenice’s Disco Dracula at the Vortex/Butterfly Bar — goofy fun as usual, and Adam was an amazing bloodsucker.
  • Read This is How We Lose the Time War on the recommendation of some goofy username on twitter, and it is fantastic. Don’t read anything about it, just grab it and go.
  • Went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 3 at the Alamo — I went in with pretty low expectations, and it turned out to be really good! And, like most Marvel movies, immediately forgettable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Watched the first episode of the new Tick on… amazon prime, maybe? I’m glad it exists, but I’m just not feeling it.

Work

We’re suddenly switching our main student-facing communication channels from Slack — which we’ve been on for a decade or so — to Discord, which…. well, it’s free, anyway. There are a lot of problems with this move (made primarily because Slack costs money, and we need money) and I’m sure they will surface quickly and constantly, but in the long run, whatever.

My cohort finished up their final projects, did presentations, and got graduated. Now I get a week of rest before jumping into the next one…

Other Stuff

The bunny and the chickens are doing great — Ampersand has a crush on Nic, and is always running around in circles around their legs and nipping and licking and marking. It’s very cute.

Ladies.

We made a short video for the National Science Foundation about a big new earthquake table, starring the bunny! We can’t show it around yet, but you know I’ll link to it when we get the word.

As every…. well, constantly, there was yet another huge trash fire over on #ttrpg twitter — most of the discourse is usually heated but fairly meaningless, but this time, well. One of the many awards things that happens every year handed out some stuff to some US military officer while honoring “underrepresented designers” or something similar, and hoooo boy people lost it. It feels like this one escaped the usual bubble, though, and some “big” names (nobody in rpgs is actually a big name) got involved, lines were drawn, sides were taken, and I even caught some blocks from some high-profile folks that I’ve known for years and years, just because I liked some of the more *pointed* tweets. Anyway, good riddance, I guess — it’s all died down, and a few more disco horse cycles have come and gone — but at least I know for sure *why* these ones have blocked me…

Shannon McCormick, Marc Majcher, Laughing Boy

On a better note, I swung by Nerd Nite at the Vigilante gaming pub to see my bud LB present on the Trojan War, and wound up catching a thing on using maggots to treat infected wounds, too. Bonus, my other bud Shannon and his family showed up, and it was good to start catching up with folks in person!

Finally, I managed to squeeze into the wood shop for an evening to build a new little cart for the table saw—the one I’ve been using for the last three years is pretty jank and wobbly, and this is the first step to getting everything up and working again, I guess. Let’s see if the heat allows it…

Plans

Gonna go to Origins at the end of the month, meet up with some people, run some games, play some games, and try to brace myself for the coming summer inferno. Otherwise, not much.

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Marc Majcher

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