Skip to content


Over the past few months, maybe year or so, I’ve been getting more and more into board games. I think beginning for me was when a friend of a friend introduced me to Carcassonne a couple of years ago. Building a map on a table was such an exciting Carcassonne experience for me. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before then to seek out such a game. It was one of those moments where, probably even aloud, I said to myself “wow, yeah, of course a map-building land-grab game exists, and of course I would love such a game, why didn’t I know about this earlier?”

Carcassonne kept me busy for a long time, though pretty quick I knew I wanted to dive deeper. It was a while before I picked up The Settlers of Catan. Settlers was another eye opener. I enjoyed the player-interactivity that Settlers provided – it was quite different from Carcassonne, despite having a lot of similarities too. The big bummer for me with Settlers though, was the 3 player requirement. Steff’s not a big fan of the game, so still don’t get to play it too often.

My current board game love is Pandemic. What a fantastic game. It’s short (usually around 45 minutes), and I’ve had a couple of successful rounds playing it solo (as two players). I had no idea a collaborative game could be so engaging and “full” feeling.

Pandemic on the BeachI’m so taken with Pandemic I even brought it to the beach, despite it using multiple decks of cards and a ton of fiddly little blocks of wood. We got through 3 or 4 games that day. Pretty fantastic.

Agricola is the latest game I’ve gotten into. Only played a couple of games so far, but I can already see why some folks are such fanatics. It’s really a simple game at it’s core, but there are so many little intricacies in the rules that make it interesting. Also, the sheer amount of options available to each player is pretty remarkable. I understand that all of these characteristics are also the items listed by people who dislike the game. It seems to be a fairly polarizing game that way. Also, unlike Pandemic, it seems that it’s not one of those games that just takes a few games for most people to come around to. Which I also find interesting. That’s not to say, of course that some folks don’t warm up to Agricola, though, if the posts on BGG are to be believed, most folks get it or don’t on their first or second play. I have yet to try Puerto Rico, but I hear that’s the same way.

I think the next game up will be either Age of Steam or Power Grid, both of which I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy quite a bit.Agricola

I’m also getting into ‘Print and Play’ games. I printed, tried and enjoyed Zombie in my Pocket a couple of months ago. Infection Express was the one that really struck me though. It’s a nice, light version of Pandemic with quite well done artwork. Here’s my final version, complete with polymer clay pieces, painted dice and foamcore-mounted cardstock printouts.

Infection Express

I’ve started working on my own game now too. I thought I was doing really well with it, too, until the first play-test. I’m completely humbled. Game design is ridiculously difficult. I know what the major flaws are in my game, so I’m going to keep tweaking it and working at it. I thought I was starting out with a pretty simple idea, alas, no – it’s still a very fun project though, and I’m having fun brainstorming with Ethan and Steff about it. Hopefully we’ll come up with something eventually. I’m trying hard not to stay married to any ideas at the moment. It’s just fun thinking about building something for the sole purpose of having fun with it.

Records and CDs

The reception to the Soplerfo record was outstanding. Upon getting that record out, I decided to hold off on the next record so I could instead focus on getting Crabouiller‘s first CD release complete and out into the world.

Topography by The Ancient LowlyMy good friend Don Mennerich was kind enough to let me put out his latest project The Ancient Lowlys first release. It came out great. I’ve been slow to get it out for distribution,  for which I’m sorry, though the reception has still been overwhelmingly positive. Two great reviews so far:

An excellent release, drifting in various directions, ambient like, a bit noise like, psychedelic, yet always coming round again. Nice indeed.

Frans de Waard – Vital Weekly # 728

classic styled tones and spaceship drama…

Jus Forrests – Igloo Magazine

The Air Out There by Soplerfo The Air Out There is Crabouiller’s next release, Soplerfo’s third 12″ – I’m really excited about it. It’s a pretty big departure for the Soplerfo “branded” music. While still recorded and (lightly) tweaked on computers, it’s far from the computer music of previous releases. This record is all about live instrumentation and room recordings. I have no idea what people are going to think of it.

It’s been warm in the studio (the 3rd floor of our house) these days, so I’ve not been doing much recording. And it’s been a big pain to be up there at all, which is difficult, as that’s where the screenprinting stuff is too. I still need to print up the last few pieces before I can get copies off to Keith at Mimaroglu. We’re expecting rain and cooler weather tomorrow, I should be able to wrap it up then.  I can’t wait to get this out into the world. I hope people enjoy it as much as I do.

Crabouiller’s going really well, I think. I keep getting excited about the next thing, then the next thing after that. The first next thing looks like it’ll be Matt “misterinterrupt” Howell’s record, then I’m not sure which will come next: Chokdee Rutirasiri, Brendan Murry or Reuben Son. I can’t wait to get all of this music out into the world and into people’s hands. It’s going to be a ton of work, but I’m looking forward to it.

New Stuff

Yesterday I released my first piece of recorded material in about 5 years. Soplerfo is a self-titled 12-inch record of my some of my electronic compositions. I’m really proud of it, though the music is on the old side, most of it was recorded in 2003-2005, some of it is a bit newer.

I’ve also got another 12″ coming out in the next month or so of all new music. Very excited to become more public with my music again.

Apple Tablet

Everyone’s doing it, so here’s mine:

  • 9-inch screen
  • iPhone-style buttons/ports (volume, headphones, home button, power button, dock port)
  • Price: 700-900 – maybe 2 tiers, but probably only 1
  • Free, limited 3g network support (a la Kindle), ‘full’ paid option available too
  • Internal memory:120GB
  • RAM 1-2GB
  • Name: Mac Touch or Apple Touch

You’ll install apps (full apps) like you would on an iPhone, set it up in iTunes, then when you sync the tablet, the app moves over and is installed.

Updtated thoughts, the day before the event:

  • iPhone tethering for mobile internet OR a full plan may be purchased (most major carriers available)
  • Big focus both on things like creative brainstorming uses, media creation (podcasts, video editing, graphic design)
  • Clarification on app installs: just as on the iPhone, there will be an app store that one can purchase from/install from
  • iPhone apps will run on the device as widgets, maybe an iPhone-sim type app.
  • Revising cost: $500-$800

No Fail Mode

Bit of a corny question, but one I’m enjoying spending a little time thinking about this morning:

What would you do if you you knew you would not fail?

My quick answers:

  • Start a brewery
  • Support myself through art and music
  • Work as a gardener
  • Be a woodworking craftsman
  • Be a beekeeper

I think it goes without saying that all of these would require that I have at least a little more knowledge about the bullet item itself before I could make it a reality (ie: I don’t really know all the ins and outs of what it would take to be a successful brewer/brewery). Also, finances come into play on most. Either I just don’t have the base capital to start (start my own brewery) or the earnings would likely not be enough for me to keep my house (likely all). So, I guess these are the fantasy aspect of the question.

Now, I understand that the intent of the question probably isn’t so career-specific. I suspect it’s meant more as a kick in the ass to start a project. While I don’t think I really have a big problem with starting (or failing at) projects, perhaps I should re-write the list as projects and not careers:

  • Brew big batches of beer (my own recipes) and sell them
  • Make art and sell it
  • do more gardening (indoor/outdoor)
  • Learn to finish and sell woodworking pieces
  • Learn to keep bees and sell honey

Again, I fall into the career-thing a little bit, but this list becomes a bit more intriguing, I think. What I like here is that all of these are feasible. The only blocks in this list, really, are time to do the things themselves or time to learn about them. And, really, that’s just a big cop-out.

So, broken down even more:

Brew and sell: This would require a few things. At the top of the list would be equipment, but, let’s just assume we’re starting slow and just doing 10/15 gallon batches, that’s not so bad and probably doable once a week or so. So there’s some non-trivial amount of money up-front, but I don’t think it’s too bad, as long as I’m still employed. Then, there’s the labor, which is really just time. Then, of course, there’s the business side of it. I’m pretty sure it’d be illegal to sell anything I make before actually becoming a business and getting licensed, so that’s a bit of a stumbling block. Perhaps this has to morph into 2 goals, that is, if starting a brewery/selling beer is really the ultimate goal. If that’s the case, then I figure doing a year of all-grain, big-beer brewing on the hobby level (in large-ish batches) would be a good first step.

Make art and sell it: This seems pretty straightforward and probably even attainable. At least on some level. Getting paid for my visual art seems like a stretch, but small runs of music output that folks might be interested enough to purchase doesn’t seem too out there of an idea. I’d just need to step-up the music making and follow through on making/duplicating a purchasable product.

Do more gardening: Again, fairly straightforward, but with a hitch. I could get a job as a gardener/landscaper of some sort, but I’d have to be doing this part-time, evenings/weekends, at least until I knew more about what I was doing. And, even then, I’m not really sure I’d ever take it far enough to do anything professional with the knowledge. This feels to me like it’s pretty firmly planted in the hobby category, which is fine.

Learn to finish and sell woodworking pieces: Same as above. I mean, who knows, maybe I apprentice for a year or two and find my calling, but I think that’s more than a little doubtful. This feels like it would be more of a personal hobby than anything else. Probably one I’d be a little more interested in pursuing than gardening, even. A woodworking project probably deserves it’s own ‘project bullet’ in this list

Learn to keep bees and sell honey: Seems to me that this one is fairly attainable. There are classes I need to take, and research I need to do, and equipment I’d need to purchase, but I don’t think any of these things are super time-consuming or expensive. I need to ponder this one more. Like the beer, it probably deserves to be broken down some project-wise. 1. Complete bee school. 2. setup a hive. 3. learn about and complete requirements to sell honey.

I like the honey and beer ideas the most. I feel like they work well together too (make beer/mead w/honey collected, sell honey in brewery shop, sell both beer and honey separately). Again, I keep falling back into business/career ideas. So, maybe this is where I start thinking of actual goals and goal planning.

Possible “big” goals:

  1. Do something more with brewing
  2. Make and sell honey
  3. Make music available for purchase

broken down into steps:


  1. Upgrade brewing to 10-15 gallon all-grain
  2. Learn about selling beer (intern at a brewery? Join a local club?)
  3. Decide on next step (Brewery? Bar? Hobby?)


  1. Take a beekeeping course
  2. Get equipment and hive
  3. Learn how much honey I can produce with what effort
  4. Make decisions on next steps


  1. Get on a creative schedule (or a goal of x nights per week)
  2. Finish some pieces
  3. Compile and produce physical product
  4. Make decisions on next steps

I’ve kept the last step for all of these vague on purpose. The initial steps are large enough that there’s a good chance that as those are completed, the next goals will become obvious.

I’m clearly rambling at this point, so I’ll stop here. I suspect this hasn’t been thrilling for anyone to read, but it was a great process for me to get some thoughts out and work through some ideas.

New Year

Well, it’s a new year, so I guess that means it’s time for me to reinvent Again. I think this site’s been through probably 10 different incarnations over the years. I’m trying to keep it simple this time around. I already have a link blog and an art blog that are both fairly active and well maintained, so I guess this is going to be more of a general-use blog. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to re-blog here some of the more interesting finds from samblr and any finished pieces I actually post on lumpish.

I think I want Plort to simply be a place for me to write informally and maybe highlight events in my life and, of course, as always, encourage myself to keep creating/doing things. We’ll see how it goes. As always, I’m going to try to set some vague goals for myself, though I’m not sure what those are just yet. Perhaps 1 or 2 posts a week. Something pretty attainable. I’m much more interested in focusing my attention on actual art creation/completion right now.

Charcoal sketch I’ve set a couple of art goals for myself already this year. I’ve had one before: draw every day. I don’t think I’ve ever gone a full 365 days, but here’s to trying again. I’m going easy on myself too though; if I miss a day, it’s ok, but the goal is to miss as few as possible.

Another goal is to actually finish some music this year. I was looking back at my scratch-tracks a couple of weeks ago and was pretty sad to see such old dates on them. These year (or two) old tracks were mostly all meant as rough musical ideas and/or sketches of tracks that I meant to go back to and complete. A large part of me wants to blame my poor electronic organizational skills for some of the failure; I’d start a track and then leave it for months, then either I’d forget where I put the files or I’d be using a new hard drive that hadn’t had the files migrated to it yet. But mostly, really, it’s all about laziness. I just need to get off my ass and record. I want to keep it simple and clear and honest. I always make the best music when I’m only making it for myself. So that’s the goal: Make music that I want to listen to this year. And make a TON of it. No excuses.

The last real goal I have set out for myself this year is to run a race a month. This is primarily to keep me running through the cold weather, but also just to keep me running/exercising in general.

So, I feel like I have a good amount of pseudo-interesting stuff to document in the coming months. Not even included in my goals: beer brewing, planned trips, Paper Summer (my band) related projects.

All in all, I feel like 2009, despite being an incredible year for Steff and me as a couple, was a pretty rough year all around. And I’d like to take some personal responsibility in that. I know I did my fair share of just letting the world tumble by and mess with my life. I plan on taking a lot more control in 2010.