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Sketchbook Harvest


Washing my hands quickly in the kitchen sink. There's a heavy aroma from sautéed onions, garlic, mushrooms and potatoes.

Cool Words

erstwhile (urst'-wile) adv. in the past; formerly adj. former, previous

Haiku Reviews

Better Than Chocolate :)
Better than real life -
the people in this movie
fall in love too fast.

Daddy-O's Reviews
Fantasia 2000

In a world of bad and ill-advised sequels, here's one that shoulda been done years ago. Fantasia 2000 is a worthy successor to the original. (My favorite sequence: Rhaposdy in Blue.)

Tirade's Choice

Art by Jane WalkerFruits of Chaos
Evolve Fish#12's Webcomic picks
Living In Greytown

"A friend of mine gave me Chrononauts for Xmas and we're so addicted we played for 12 hours straight!! What a wonderful game!" -- Chaminda David Geevaratne, in comments accompanying an online order

Thursday, January 4, 2001
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? The 7 Continents Club / toK's Fire

Happy 2001! Like everyone, we're back from holidays, wishing we could have kept playing a little bit longer, but looking ahead to the new month, the new year, and yes, the new millennium, filled with hope, excitement, and stress about all the work that has to be done.

Our holidays were grand and happy and filled with too many fine moments, memories, and gifts to completely detail here; but I'll share some of the high points. Since we are a household of three, we had four Christmas celebrations, one with the members of each of our three families, plus one more for just our household (on Boxing day). Added to all this was the Wunderland Toast Society Holiday Party, and of course New Year's Eve, plus we saw lots of out-of-town friends in between, and I even went to a reunion of my old Explorer Post... basically, it's just been a whole lot of socializing.

We actually didn't see anyone from Kristin's family during Christmas this year; her sister and family are spending a year in Israel, so her parents went to the Holy land for the holidays. But just as we'd sent gifts for them along early, they'd left some behind for us, and we sat down to open them on Xmas Eve, at roughly the same time we'd usually be doing this with them, thus observing the holidays with Kristin's kin in spirit. (And we got some neat stuff from them!) Before that, we exchanged Neat Stuff with Alison's parents and relations at their delightfully remodeled home downtown, but here too absences were felt... her cool, zany brother Alec is currently in China, working with the Peace Corp. This was his first holiday season so far from home, but I'm sure he handled it fine.

On Christmas, we had dinner at my ancestral home, where mom fixed one of her fantastic dinners for a bigger crowd than ever... for the first time that I can recall, there was a kid's table on the edge of the dining room! Oddly enough, that's where we three (plus Rash) ended up. And then came the chaos of 14 people tearing open a huge pile of gifts, all at the same time!

As usual, we created something new to give away to everyone, but since we haven't yet finished mailing out copies to everyone on our list that we plan to send them to, I'm still referring to this only as Secret Project 44-CC. Then for the families, we made fudge (as usual) and cookies (new this year), and even created some custom-made gifts, though of course we also bought plenty of gifts, too, including a Cat in the Hat game for my goddaughter Sharon, who carried it around for awhile, proudly proclaiming to everyone: "It's a game!" (The number of games in her universe just doubled.)

The coolest custom gift we created was a set of T-shirts, ID cards, buttons, notepads, and a plaque, all conferring membership in the 7 Continents Club on my parents, who this year completed a lifelong goal of my mom's by setting foot somewhere on each of the 7 continents. (It's truly amazing that we were able to create a run of exactly 2 full color T-shirts for this project... hooray for CafePress!) We also made some cool pads for Alison's parents, plus we (well, Alison) designed a logo for my 9 year old nephew Eric's production company, which he long ago decided would be named Man in Hartsford Productions.

As for the loot we received, we got all sorts of neat things: the usual assortment of books, CDs, clothes, games, toys, videos, and fattening goodies; a new exercise machine to combat that last category; new tires for two of our cars; a bunch of cool new drinking glasses; Kristin got a slew of new Pez dispensers (seven different bugs) and the new Spiderman videogame; I got the new Tomb Raider, five time travel books plus the very outstanding Book of Tiki, a complete set of boardgame ornaments, and a Titanic mechanical bank; and Alison got a juicer and a shopping spree at Behnke's Nursery. And not only that, as of yesterday, the business got a new (and desperately needed) digital copier! Oh, and Leah sewed us a beautiful Looney Labs signpost banner! Lastly, Alison and I each got new sketchbooks, plus I got $50 to just spend, all in shiny new golden dollars. Wow! Such a haul! Thank you, everyone! (And please forgive us if we never get around to sending out those NQ notes...)

But while our new year begins with only sunshine, we have friends for whom 2001 has been nothing but a nightmare. On New Year's Day, the townhouse next to toK and Todd's home burned down! Their place would surely have gone up in flames too if it weren't for the firemen, who battled the fire inside their house even as flames from the neighbors' attempted to enter. But although their home was spared outright destruction, damage from water, smoke, fire, and firemen was very serious. This picture of Broccoli sprout #11 will give you a faint glimmer of just how much damage this has done to their lives. But their insurance company (State Farm) is taking really good care of them, moving them into a hotel and bringing in teams to recover and reclaim as many of their trashed belongings as possible. As for the building itself, estimates are that repairs will take six months. Yikes, what a bummer. But as FDR might have said, things could have been a lot worse... though missing for a long while, their cats eventually turned up unscathed. Sadly, the same could not be said for the household actually destroyed by the fire... they lost a dog as well as their home.

Anyway, we're all very sad about this, so please keep these families in your thoughts, and perhaps take this as a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and otherwise do what you can to guard against such disasters. (Which reminds me, it's time to get that insurance video updated...)


Remember Peter McWilliams!

the story so far

Thought Residue
"The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment. The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell, as seen quoted by Rash
"I don't know any 50-year-olds who wear tie-dye and have long hair, but I can extrapolate a little. I'm 20, have long hair, and wear tie-dye. Andy Looney, proprieter and resident mad scientist of Looney Labs, is 35, has long hair, and wears tie-dye (shameless plug: Mr. Looney's games really are excellent. Swing by for a peek -- I especially recommend Fluxx and Aquarius). I can imagine both him and myself and others doing the same for a long time. It's not, as you seem to claim it is, an expression of childishness... For me, and for others, bright colors and wild patterns are simply a way of expressing vibrancy, life, and independence from arbitrary societal restrictions. History shows that true progress is made by those who are different, and refuse to be ashamed of their differences.... It is very petty of you, Mr. Engle, to denounce someone's capability to function in society on the basis of their fashion choices." -- Jack Bishop, in a message on alt.drugs.pot I found when I typed "Andy Looney Labs" into the deja news search engine
Inferior, well-marketed products are routinely more successful than superior goods sold by smaller companies who can't afford the saturation advertising used by their larger competitors. For value not lost to advertising budgets, seek out the quietly advertised.

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