Soft Chaos

Soft Chaos

Soft Chaos is Jenny Bacon, Allison Cole, Jess Rowan Marcotte, and Dietrich Squinkifer. Together, Soft Chaos makes queer games with themes of radical softness, community connection, awkwardness, and vulnerability with a sprinkling of salt.

Presently, Soft Chaos has several unreleased projects in the works. Their first project together is This Is Fine, winner of the 2019 Golden Cobra for Best Apocalyptic Game. Their latest work is concerned with addressing community and connectivity in the current world context.

UNLOCK. UNPACK.

portfolio

(2020.)
UNLOCK. UNPACK. is an escape-room-in-a-suitcase… Sort of.

There are infinite clues and no time limits. The experience is for two to three players who are asked to collaborate to solve three puzzles. The goal is to grow closer through shared experience, to build connections to themselves, to each other, and to past players who they may never meet face to face. Everything needed to solve the puzzles is included with the suitcase. (But it’s okay to need a hint or two, or three!) When players solve one of the three puzzles, they gain access to a thematically-linked question, along with the answers of past players. Write to your self, past, present or future, or to a stranger who might need your words, or maybe, to the person sitting next to you. You decide.

A game of connection, exploration and resilience.

DISSERTATION UPDATE: The F***king BOX!

autoethnography, critical making, dissertation, playtest, Process Writing, research

It sure has been a while since I wrote a dissertation blog post. The last time I wrote was right before October 25th, when my students’ project proposals were due, and I had to give detailed feedback to almost 70 students so that they could complete final projects (which I also had to correct). I’m feeling a lot less overworked and a lot better now, although I am still very busy.

I’ve been doing a lot of documentation through photos and through posts on Instagram and Twitter (which I’ve also been screenshotting). I couldn’t do as many design interviews because of the activities I was doing with the person I was collaborating with involved a lot of loud power tools and silent working, punctuated by problem-solving. And there were a lot of finicky things.

I did however keep talking about the project at the lab’s weekly design meeting whenever I could.

In a nutshell, October through November was mostly all about physical crafting. With the puzzles designed and mostly programmed (although there have been tweaks here and there since then), I had to buckle down and do things like designing and embroidering conductive patches (with lots hand-sewing), and finishing up the box, besides the hardware. This also involved sanding and staining.

From there, toward the end of November, most of my energy went to my students and preparing for my deviated septum surgery (which finally happened December 9th). With almost 70 students, getting all the grading done between November 29th and December 9th was certainly an adventure.

The good news is that the project is finished except for a name and a carrying strap, and any fixes I do to things that arise in playtesting (and some already have, like some errant shapes that I didn’t realize were there). We finished the box just before New Years, and toasted the completion on New Years Day with a shot. I realized that I might be a designer because I enjoy problem-solving and working with all of the issues that we encountered, whereas the person that I was collaborating with was more frustrated with the process.

Since then, I finessed a few things (used steel wool to smooth the box a bit, and wrapped wires with gaffer’s tape, for example), and sewed a cover to protect the case.

I am really pleased with the results of the limited playtesting I’ve done so far (4 playthroughs with a total of 8 people in various configurations, 2 groups of 2, 1 group of 3, and one solo player). Based on the experience of the solo player, I’ve decided that, as I thought might be the case, 2-3 is the sweet spot for the number of players.

I am next bringing the suitcase to QGCarnival, where I hope to play a few rounds. It’s QGCon’s official fundraiser!

After that, everything is likely to stall for a few weeks as I am scheduled for top surgery on the 16th. I hope to get a little bit of work done (getting the audio transcription stuff going) but I will need a lot of rest.

So, I’ve got playtesting to do this semester, and then need to write my dissertation, I’m leading the QGCon team, I’m getting top surgery, and I’m helping to plan an exhibition over the summer. That’s a lot less than last semester, even though it’s a lot! Oh, and I may apply for a conference or two. I really want to apply to CGSA if I can find the time this year.

DISSERTATION: When recharging is the biggest problem

autoethnography, critical making, dissertation, Process Writing

Well, it’s been a while since I wrote, and working title “escape suitcase” is moving — a bit slowly, maybe, but still, it’s moving.

One thing that I am noticing is how much the fact that I have to slow down to physically make things gives me opportunities to think about the design of the project and let things percolate.

I am also noticing, importantly, the limits of my ability to document. Documentation is great until it’s getting in the way of the work, so I have had to make some compromises about recording design conversations, for example, because I’m in a room full of flying sawdust and it would be silly to ruin a recording device that way, or to make someone listen to a saw blade and then discuss whether we have to cut it more before turning the sawblade again. So, where documentation was getting in the way of my ability to do the work, I either didn’t document or delayed documentation. Some parts are lost, but it’s still way more than we usually get from the design process, and there’s already so much lost as my brain continually works out small problems or thinks about the project without my volition.

A problem area that I wasn’t expecting is power sources for my theatrical light-up and vibration patches. So far, the tech works fine when plugged into my computer. I bought batteries that should be able to do the trick, but the tiny USB LiPo charger that I bought on Adafruit just isn’t cutting the mustard. So, instead, I bought a larger charger (after doing some research, and at great expense), but while it has ports on the balance boards for 2S (2 cell, essentially) through to 6S LiPo batteries, it does not have 1S ports.

So. I bought batteries. Too small. I bought new batteries. Couldn’t charge them (or so I thought at first, because they just weren’t being supplied enough power). I bought a charger. Still can’t charge my batteries.

I am currently testing a non-ideal solution with the tiny Adafruit USB charger. It turns out there’s a spot at the back that you can solder closed to make it give 500mAh instead of 100…That’ll be 5 times faster but still mean 5 hours (I’m guessing?) for charging 1 battery. For now, I’m returning the charger I bought and will keep looking at solutions, including buying more batteries and maybe a different charger.

We’re into the fiddly bits of the project, like whether to cut wood 2 millimeters in one direction or another to hide certain secrets better, or into designing cases for the various boards that need to be screwed into the suitcase. That stuff, though occasionally time-consuming, given the 3D modeling and printing involved, is going fairly well.

So, finishing the actual suitcase (sanding and hardware, maybe drilling a few holes for power supplies) is still on my task list, along with soldering and making these conductive patches, finding a solution for the batteries, finishing programming for one of the puzzles, and writing the rules/frame for the game.

Oh, I also wanted to mention something really nice that happened! TAG now has a design conversation group that meets every Wednesday — which is also really nice but not what I wanted to mention. At a previous week, I had mentioned my intent to use a kind of web-based Konami code for one of the inputs I was building, and Pippin had offered to help if I ran into trouble. So, the next week, because I am very busy with teaching and a SSHRC Connection grant, I hadn’t had the chance to make much progress. Later on that day, Pippin talked to me and had made a small, stripped down version of the program that I needed! It kind of felt like someone bringing you a coffee when you’re tired or sending you a card when you’re feeling down. I really appreciated it, and it reminds me of how important community and friendship is, even when working on ostensibly solo projects.

That’s one thing about these projects: I worked on them in three very different ways, from being isolated and alone in Fort McMurray on Flip the Script!, to wanting to forge ahead alone and be as independent as possible for TRACES, and needing to learn to ask for help, to recognizing for this untitled game just how much having people to turn to while making TRACES mattered, and making collaboration a clearer part of this project, knowing from the start that I wouldn’t be able to do an adequate job of all the woodworking alone.

Back to the title of this post: recharging my physical, Lithium Polymer batteries is one problem that I’ve been having, but it also definitely refers to the feeling of being overwhelmed by work right now, and not wanting to burn out again, like what happened while I was working on TRACES. It’s not the dissertation that I’m pushing too hard on, though! It’s stress from other areas — teaching, writing grants, planning a conference, my spouse being in the market for a new job but also being close to burnout himself, continued nonsense with his old employer… Anyway.

I am trying to be really careful, but there is definitely pressure to overwork: my students need feedback and need my time to be able to continue their work, QGCon attendees and team members are relying on me to try and get as much funding as possible, and there’s time pressure to finish my PhD because my funding will end in the spring. I’m saving what I can, but since my spouse is currently on Unemployment Insurance, there’s some worry there too.

DISSERTATION: Fiddly Electronic Bits and Planning

autoethnography, critical making, dissertation, Process Writing

This is just a small update because it’s the kind of thing I’m likely to forget in hindsight. I just spent about two and a half hours on the internet and on the Adafruit website figuring out a way to make my patches more visually appealing and provide more feedback. There’s still going to have to be some work to do to get all these wires to behave, but hopefully I can manage something compact and safe (I’ll be using lithium ion battery packs for part of this). I’m especially concerned about shielding the lithium ion batteries.

Generally speaking, my plan is to sandwich a few things together. I’m hoping to make a flora power neopixels and a small vibrational motor. I have to handle where to place the LEDs and the motor and where to run their respective wires, then where and how to shield the battery while maintaining access to the flora (maybe some kind of slit in the material). I also have neopixels that I want to shine through part of the material. Then, there’s the wire to actually turn the patches into buttons, which has to attach into the conductive thread at the back. It should work out fine but there may be some trial and error.

Meanwhile, the box is nearly done, though I may need to add holes to accommodate some of this hardware… We have to make lids for the inner boxes and assemble everything with the hardware. We also have to make a handle for one of the outside puzzles. From there, most of the puzzles are already done and ready to go except for this last one, which is more involved. I have some re-writing and adjustments to make to the prototype of the puzzle, which I plan to try and do today, and I have physical crafting and embroidering and arduino programming to do in addition to the program that will display all this text and cycle through it. I thought I would want to do this with a visual/WYSIWYG program like Construct 2, but it might be easier to just have the RPI boot up and start the program if it is javascript-based.

I’m off to try and rewrite the last puzzle to make it a bit more of a riddle! We’ll see how it goes!

THIS IS FINE

portfolio

(2019.)
THIS IS FINE: An Apocalyptic Networking Event, by Jenny Bacon, Allison Cole, Jess Rowan Marcotte, and Dietrich Squinkifer, is a short larp about networking during a literal apocalypse. “Never acknowledge the Apocalypse. That would be impolite.”

You can download the PDF needed to run the game here.

WINNER, GOLDEN COBRA 2019 for BEST APOCALYPTIC GAME.

The Golden Cobra Judges say:
Here is what the Golden Cobra Judges had to say:
“‘Never acknowledge the apocalypse. That would be impolite.’ This Is Fine is the kind of game that so very much inspires us that we invent a new category for it. In this case, a lot of y’all were designing with the end of the world in mind, so we came up with the Best Apocalyptic Game award. This game is the one that best expresses that unique feeling of simultaneously having to bow and scrape in the neoliberal corporate dystopian present and having to live with the knowledge that it’s all so freakin’ pointless because the world is ending. A straightforward, tight design that welcomes new players and lets players play close to home without surrendering them to the crushing terror of it all.”

[This is Fine] deals with a very specific intersection between the immanence of the end of the world and the equal immanence of needing to go to work in an empty corporate hellscape. It takes us to a corporate networking event while the *literal apocalypse* is destroying all relevance and context outside. But you REALLY need that job so…. The act structure captures Humans In Denial wonderfully.”

DISSERTATION: Escape Suitcase Progress & Challenges

autoethnography, critical making, dissertation, Process Writing, research

I thought I’d write a little update to say that the physical making of the escape suitcase is going pretty darn well. I’m very happy with the look so far. The structure of the box itself is done, and the outside parts are done (but not stained and the hardware isn’t on). Next, we have to plan and make the inside of the box (I’d list some parts but I want to avoid spoilers for the solutions).

What makes that a bit difficult is the fact that I still haven’t managed to finish that last puzzle. I talked about it at the new design group that’s forming at TAG, I had some conversations with Tom about it, and still, I’m having a hard time getting into it. The general advice seems to be to try and change my frame of reference/point of view — either in terms of the puzzle type, or the theme, or the interaction. That’s what I’ll be trying my best to do today.

For my good friend Gina’s birthday, we played an escape room yesterday — we won! The one thing we got stuck on was…maybe a bit unfair given the horizon of expectations that the escape room genre sets up, and the positioning of the clue in the room, along with some red herrings, which in the end required us to revisit a puzzle. We had to ask for a hint on that one! But from there, it was pretty smooth. It was on the whole a very well-designed room but, I have to say, the thing that I am trying to avoid in this last puzzle, which is feeling that there’s a kind of disconnect (or only a shallow connection) between the puzzles in the room and the narrative was definitely present. It’s definitely hard to design puzzles and narratives that fill fit those puzzles without being stilted, but I think it’s a worthwhile goal for escape rooms, and for my project.

Okay, time to try designing this puzzle once again!

DISSERTATION: Hopes and Anxieties

autoethnography, dissertation, Process Writing

Well, it’s been three weeks since my last blog post, and things didn’t quite work out how I thought. This post will detail some feelings about that, about what happened instead, and what I’ve been up to with my design work. I also have some feelings that I wanted to capture about this final game project and what will most likely be the last year of my PhD.

First of all, my surgery was cancelled, again, meaning that I missed out on speaking at MUTEK IMG for no reason, but I did get to go scuba diving. To be honest, having the surgery cancelled again was really hard. It took a lot of mental preparation to be ready for what would be, by all accounts, a shitty recovery period. I have a lot of anxiety around breathing and having a blocked nose (remember this — it’ll figure in a later story). This surgery was eventually supposed to make it so that my nose wouldn’t be blocked so often, so that was what made my stress about that worth it. There were no other possible surgery dates in August, and I am teaching September through December, so I couldn’t reschedule it. Now we’ll have to see for December.

I’ve met up twice with my woodworking in-law (who decided that they would rather not be named in publication) and we have a solid plan for the suitcase. It will be personal-item sized and made of wood. We bought wood at Home Depot and made a few initial cuts. We are meeting again soon to start putting some of the pieces together. In the meanwhile, I managed to finish a laser-cuttable file for one of the puzzles and get it laser-engraved at Concordia’s Digital Fabrication Lab. They were very friendly and helpful, and the whole project cost me less than 3$. Pretty awesome. I also have some extra wood in case I want to laser-engrave other things (and I just might).

laser-engraved puzzle panel

In between those two meetings, I went scuba diving on the Keystorm and on the American, two wrecks in the St. Lawrence near Ogdenville, NY. This is where the breathing part comes in. I hadn’t been deep-diving in a long time, and I wanted to take it slow to get back into practice. I was feeling sore and a bit uncomfortable in my equipment, which hadn’t seen use since June. So, I told Tom that I wanted to take it slow on the wreck. A third person volunteered themself to our team, and although I felt awkward about it, I didn’t say anything. This person was also bringing along a camera — what fun! They are an experienced instructor and I have been diving with them before during the children’s camp certifications. I had always found them a bit impatient with the kids, and they had had trouble keeping track of the kids in the past. They wanted to hit the water and were impatient to do. So I felt rushed. Then, we descended on the wreck, and they took us down the “wrong” side — the dark side of the wreck. There was a hulking, 256-foot steel freighter looming above me on my left side, its underside completely featureless. This buddy rushed along, taking us to our max depth of 110 feet. I felt winded, I felt like I was having trouble catching my breath. I tried to breath slowly, because a single tank of air doesn’t last all that long at 110 feet. I felt myself starting to practically hyperventilate, which then led me to think that I wouldn’t have enough air to make it back to the surface if we kept this pace and I stayed down there. I was slowly starting to panic inside, and I couldn’t slow my breathing. This third buddy was nowhere to be seen, and Tom was not as near to me as I would have liked, probably looking for our buddy. Tom found me and asked me if I was okay, and I wasn’t. I contemplated doing an emergency ascent — but I would be skipping a lot of safety stops and might very well give myself the bends. I think I was still pretty close to making that decision — my breathing just wouldn’t slow. Tom grasped my shoulders, looked into my eyes, and signaled for me to breathe slowly. My mind latched onto his presence, and I did my best to slow my breathing. I told Tom I wanted to start going up slowly and leaving, and we slowly started to ascend. Around 70-80 feet, I started to feel better, and I felt that I could continue the dive.

Nitrogen Narcosis can be terrifying.

For those of you who don’t scuba dive on the regular, Nitrogen Narcosis is a condition whose effects are usually noticeable 100 feet deep or more underwater. Everyone gets narc’ed — there’s a physiological effect whether one notices it or not. It’s often described as “the drunkenness of the depths” and that’s apparently what it is like — being drunk. It can have a greater impact on you if you’re tired, dehydrated, or otherwise just feeling off. That day, it caused me to fixate, like a drunk person who can’t stop telling you how they’re “so drunk right now.” Because I was feeling rushed and probably did legitimately need to go more slowly, I fixated on my breathing. It was really, really scary, and one of the first times that I have felt the effects of narcosis so keenly. I know that it was narcosis because as soon as I started to ascend, I felt better. Sure, 100 feet is also at a greater pressure than higher up, and that might also have helped me feel better, less squeezed. I remember feeling squeezed by the water pressure at 60 feet, my first time that deep when I was certified for open water diving.

So, we came back up (with plenty of air) and Tom and I tried to discuss the situation with this buddy, but they seemed almost willful in their refusal to acknowledge that anything was wrong or that they might have done something wrong. I was mad. I still sort of am. It’s stuck with me, these past few weeks. Also, our second dive with this person that day was little better. They barely checked in with us and went off on their own without paying attention to where we were frequently. I will never dive with this person again if I can help it. I didn’t feel able to make a scene on the boat — this was the first time we were diving with these people, and they couldn’t have known what really happened under there, so I was worried we would come off as unsafe amateurs. So I kept it polite.

Anyhow, since that incident has been preoccupying me, I guess I thought that it might belong here.

In between sessions building the suitcase, I’ve been plugging away at the puzzle design (not as frequently as I would have liked to) as I got ready for the start of the semester. We took labour day weekend off and just did social activities the whole weekend — that was awesome. The semester started, and I had my first class on the 6th. So far, so good. TAG released its statement of values and code of conduct last week, which I worked very hard on and am glad is finally out in the world. I’m going to skip over a whole lot of feelings here about what has been happening in the games industry these past few weeks, because it’s very complicated and draining, but many people are feelings empowered to come forward about abusers. There’s a lot that comes with that, and it’s hard for a lot of my friends, and for me.

The last puzzle is still giving me some trouble. I know how I want it to work mechanically, but I want it to feel integrated with the questions and themes that are being explored in the suitcase. Each of the other puzzles does this fairly well, I think. Although there’s no “theme” or “genre” for the suitcase, no fictional frame that the puzzles have to line up with, the questions being asked inside of the boxes that are opened when the puzzles are solved are thematically linked to the solved puzzles. So.

I still have a lot of physical crafting and arranging to do, plus the design of that last puzzle (along with programming it). There are a few small programmy things to do for one of the other puzzles, but this last puzzle is the main task. Is it overly complex? I don’t know. I have a choice to make between trying to get the other puzzles and their programming and physical crafting finished, or trying to work out this one. Maybe it’ll fall more easily into place if I take some time away from it.

I’ve also been working on securing a whole lot of logistical things for QGCon, and that’s going pretty well, although it’s a lot of work. We got to announce our keynotes and our CFP and CFG! Avery Alder and Dr. micha cárdenas are our keynotes.

Time pressure continues to be a source of anxiety– I want to finish my PhD in a timely fashion, and of course, the longer this last game takes, the less and less possible that feels…At the same time, finishing will be a big step. I keep on getting asked what I want to do when my PhD is finished, and frankly, I think that what I want isn’t possible. I want a decent job with decent benefits and pay where I keep getting to make these weird projects and other creative work in small teams. I want to be able to afford to go on vacation and retire. I want to make weird feminist art games. I want to stay in Montreal where my family and friends are. I would someday like to have a house. Isn’t it strange that those seem like such huge asks under the current conditions we live in?

So. I’m feeling a little bit glum. Everyone I know is overworked, and I can’t stay in Academia — not without sacrificing things that I am not willing to sacrifice — unless the perfect position comes along. It…all feels a little out of reach. Not to mention that there are so many other things wrong with the world, like climate change and fascism. Apparently another recession is coming, too.

So here I am, working on finishing my PhD.

DISSERTATION: A Flurry of Updates

autoethnography, critical making, dissertation, Process Writing

Really, this should be three blog posts, but maybe I’ll just fold it all into one. It’s been a while since I had the chance to write (over a month) but I haven’t been idle! There are three major things I want to write about that I feel are especially relevant to my design practice and what all I’ve been up to, and a few minor things.

First, I had a surgery that was supposed to happen in July delayed at the last minute until this Monday, the 19th of August. This is probably a good thing — it means I am missing out on certain things (like, for example, giving a talk at MUTEK and going diving on one of my favourite shipwrecks) but it also meant I was in decent shape for things like Artcade, where I most recently showed TRACES. That went really well — it was a perfect test case for an actual party, and although I couldn’t interview everyone who played afterward, I did have a notebook for people to write comments and feedback in, and I encouraged people to write if they wanted to. So, I did collect some data at the playtest both through my own observations and through what people chose to write. The feedback is incredibly encouraging and heartening, and was also consistent with some of the common threads in the previous interviews regarding where people thought the design could be improved.

I’ve also been plugging away at the design work, and I have most of the design sorted for two out of the three multi-step puzzles I intend to include in the escape suitcase. The one that I don’t have sorted is the one using conductivity and sequence puzzles. I think the other two just need to be built, basically, and I’ll eventually have to get part laser-engraved for at least one of them.

I have plans to meet with Tom’s mom to design the suitcase. She is a hobbyest woodworker and has made some very beautiful pieces. In the past, she’s helped me build a treasure chest for my nibling that we filled with costumes. Now, I have access to a gigantic woodshop at Concordia if it turns out that I need it, but in this case, I am valueing the chance to spend time with a loved one over working with big tools in a shop that, while friendly, is also still a bit alienating. Or, if not alienating, not what I want to deal with at this time. Honestly, everyone I’ve met there is very friendly, but right now, my executive functioning is such that arranging the meetings with the technicians, having to make technical drawings, and all the rest, sounds like a bad time. But, good to know that they probably have every tool that I need if I do need access to something extra.

From July 27th to August 3rd, basically, right after Artcade, I participated in my yearly creative reset button, GISH, and oh wow. I did a personal best on number of solo and team items! Our team completed 222 out of 227 items! I did things like learning how to make a deep fake, making a video game, and learning how to silk screen with serratia bacteria (which wasn’t a requirement for the item). Actually, the bacteria item was one of my personal favourites.

serratia bacteria portraits of Jonas Salk

The goal was to make a bacteria portrait in a petri dish of Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, and to tweet it at Melinda Gates thanking her for her work helping to vaccinate children. I contacted Alex Bachmayer, from the Milieux Institute, and I found an enthusiastic collaborator. Alex taught me about lab safety in the biolab, about how to prepare agar plates for bacteria, about how to paint using serratia, both freehand and with stencils, and then how to print on fabric with them…to make Jonas Silk (a pun we both found deliciously bad). It was really lovely to get to know Alex and to hit this item out of the park.

The other item that I learned a lot from was the Deep Fake, which was supposed to be Misha Collins complimenting Trump — I tried it two ways almost simultaneously. I had a friend, Drew, do an impression of Misha Collins fo the voice, but then realized that Drew’s hair and jaw didn’t look like Misha’s, and that the deep fake would only replace the face. So I had Tom lip sync to Drew’s impression, then replaced Tom’s face. The two ways part comes in here: I tried a software running on my own computer and an online server. I had no choice in the end but to use the online server — with more time, I think I could have trained the deep fake software I was using, but it was GISH, and there were other items to do. On my computer, Tom’s face was replaced with a blurry rectangle. On the server, I trained the thing three time before I wound up with our final version.

Other than that, I played and beat an escape room with my brother and Tom while in Toronto for a top surgery consultation, and got some ideas for my game about what I’m doing right and what else I could be doing. It was a fun one that I would recommend — the puzzles weren’t super integrated into the narrative and it wasn’t that immersive, but the puzzles were fun, fair and the right level of challenge. If you’re curious, it was the Wild West room at the Mississauga location of Escape the Six.

The next day, Tom and I, who haven’t been able to take a vacation this summer for a variety of reasons, spent the day at Niagara Falls. We did the Hornblower tour, which brings you right up to the Horseshoe Falls, visited Niagara Glen, hung around in the city a bit, and then took off to St. Catharines for one of the best Italian meals I’ve ever had — top three for sure. It left me feeling recharged and inspired to do some dissertation chores I’ve been putting off, like scanning forms and that sort of thing.

QGCon is also coming along! We announced our dates yesterday – May 23rd and 24th, so I’ll be spending my wedding anniversary running a conference. We also announced that I’m this year’s lead organizer! The team is really lovely and we’re doing great things together. I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t know how the next little while will go, because I’ve been pretty good about my rule of taking evenings and weekends off — I am definitely much more productive and recovering from the burnout I’ve been experiencing, but Monday is deviated septum surgery day, so who knows when I’ll be feeling up to making a wooden suitcase or working on game design. I’m also teaching again in the fall, so while I think I’ll be fine, scheduling-wise, it’s possible that teaching-related emergencies might come up.

Here’s hoping I’ll still be on track to finish the dissertation by the spring! There’s a good chance that I won’t be, but I’ll do my very best!