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macarize (mack'-uh-rize) v.t. to pronounce happy or blessed. from Greek makar happy, blessed [see also macarism n. joy in another's happiness].

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This new NBC series is hilarious! It's also painful at times, since it deals with the every day bummers and downers of life that we all have to deal with sometimes. Plus it's exhilarating, since it's fast-paced sketch comedy served up in 30-second segments, each like a highly compressed TV-series unto itself. My favorite show on this show is the one starring Steven Wright as Walter, but I think the biggest talent on this show is behind the camera, executive producer Steve Martin.

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When I Am King

"I decided to spend my afternoon at the Looney Labs demo table only to discover that the nice young man was the one and only Andrew Looney, designer of my all time favorite card game, Fluxx! He must have thought me quite looney as my jaw dropped, I reached out my hand to shake his, and the way I gushed and thanked him for bringing such joy into my life. Looking back on the experience, I'm surprised he didn't run away from the table screaming "Security!" I was so excited to play-test the new Nanofiction game he brought, play a few games of the classic Fluxx, and learn the Icehouse game IceTowers. My husband got tired of hearing me talk about what a grand time I had playing games with the actual designer of the games. What a kick." -- Michelle Corbin, describing her experiences at Gen-Con on the Rabbit Mailing list

Thursday, August 16, 2001
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Goodbye Dave, Hello Alvaro / Another Downer for Mar

Wow, is the summer waning already? This week finds us bidding a fond farewell to our excellent summer intern, Dave Chalker. He's about to go back to Ohio, where he'll be entering his 3rd year at Miami University, with a major in game design. Today is his last day.

It has been a total pleasure having Dave work for us this summer. He's been fun to have around, and more importantly, he's helped us accomplish a ton of stuff. Sometimes he'd get things done faster than we could even identify tasks to assign to him. He's so good, it's hard to keep him busy! He's helped us with everything from gruntwork to brilliant thinking, with particular attention on helping us develop the Mad Lab Rabbit program. He helped us kick things off with the WotC/GameKeeper Welcome Brigade program, and he wrote and webifyed a lot of the demo directions and tournament tips found at the newly overhauled website. Dave's work as our Rabbit Coordinator included the running of our Big Experiment at Origins, and since he enjoys running gaming events so much, he intends to keep on doing this even after he's just a volunteer again... starting with running Fluxx, Chrononauts, and IceTowers tournaments at WorldCon.

Dave did all sorts of other stuff for us, too. We had him doing final assembly of games (shrink-wrapping Icehouse sets, stapling flaps on Proton, etc), he helped us with the filling of orders when that was needed (folding catalogs, boxing up games, putting stamps on postcards, etc) and sometimes he just helped us carry heavy boxes. More intellectual tasks included helping me write a patent application (he came up with a great simplified Timeline example) and the rules to Nanofictionary (he helped me redesign the scoring system), plus assorted bits of flavor and marketing text here and there. He helped organize the Lost Identities contest entries (entering a few of his own in the process), he did the page layout on the latest issue of Hypothermia, he typed in a lot of contact info we'd collected but never done anything with, and he helped us sort through the pile of unprocessed Contagious Dreams game submissions. One day we even had him count the leftover pop-tarts. And he almost never misses the weekly 2 AM game of Schaufenster...

So farewell, Dave. We will miss your Hawaiian shirts, your collection of rare They Might Be Giants music, and your cheerful energies. Good luck at school and come back to play games with us any time! And stay in touch -- we'll be watching your WTS page for updates.

But even as we're losing our Summer Intern, we're gaining other help. We've recently added a Sales Baron to our team: Alvaro Gonzales. Alvaro lives in NYC (we also like to call him our New York Sales Office) and a week or two ago, he started making official sales calls on our behalf. At last, we have a sales-type guy (this ain't his only sales gig) who'll just be spending his time on the phone, trying to get more stores to carry our products! This is something we've been needing for a really long time, and even though Alvaro will just be doing this in his free time, we're really excited about the possibilities. He's only spent one day making calls so far, and already we've sent out a big pile of catalogs and samples to prospective store buyers!

Alvaro is about to marry Suzyn Jackson, a friend of Alison's from college, and we'll be going up to Manhattan for the wedding this fall. (Unfortunately, my 20 year High School reunion is the same weekend, but we've worked it out so that I at least can attend both events.) Also, fans of obscure trivia and animated shows on MTV will be interested to know that Alvaro is also an actor who, among other things, provides the voice of Trent on "Daria." Plus, Alvaro's just a cool guy: we've only gotten the chance to hang with him a couple of times so far, but it's always been great fun. We're really happy to have this guy helping us sell games!

Finally, a tragic story: some major flooding occurred downtown DC this weekend, and Marlene, who lives in a basement apartment near Logan Circle, was flooded out. She returned to find four inches of standing water in her home. As if that weren't bad enough, the water had come in through the toilet and bathtub, so this was backed-up sewer water that her precious possessions were soaking in. And yes, since she was in the midst of packing to move anyway, she had all sorts of irreplaceable and important stuff on the floor, to say nothing of all the stuff that just lived near the ground anyway. (Did you ever notice that bookcases almost always have the larger shelves at the bottom, encouraging you to put your taller books down low, so that your big expensive coffee table books are nearest to the ground?)

Mar's ruined stuff included a variety of artworks, which she'd left leaning against a wall; this picture of a ruined 500 year-old page of Gregorian chant music shows how her paintings and artbooks just soaked up the water. And wouldn't you know it, her renter's insurance doesn't cover floods.

Since the place had become uninhabitable, we spent Monday joining Mar's friends in helping her get moved out. Because the carpet stank of sewage, we all sealed our feet up in plastic bags, and only allowed those of us who were wearing gloves to handle waterlogged items. These were either instantly declared trash or bagged up and saved, either for inventory and replacment, or drying & decontamination. The rest of us concentrated on boxing up her dry belongings and removing them for placement into storage. It was both disgusting and terribly, terribly sad.

It's never a good time for disaster to strike, but the timing on this one is particularly bad... Mar is still grieving over the sudden loss of her father, who died two weeks ago after suffering a brain hemorrhage. That story has gotten all the more upsetting as details of the event have become available... he collapsed at an airport and no one came to check on him, let alone dial 911, for a really long time, even though a gate attendant was standing right there. Anyway, Mar is having a rough time right now, so please keep her in your thoughts.

AndyStay dry!

Thought Residue
Alison started a new part-time job at a flower shop this week, and it's much closer to home than the one she worked in this spring. In fact, it's within walking distance, and it's such a nice route that Kristin has started walking Alison to work in the mornings. And it sounds like it's a nicer work environment, too!
Someone in our neighborhood is stealing our aluminum cans. Once a week we put out the recycling, and in the wee small hours of the night, just before the recycling truck starts making the rounds, someone is apparently driving around, stealing the aluminum cans out of the curbside bins, leaving behind all the less-profitable plastic and steel recyclables.
"The great thing about time travel is that you can make up the rules. Nobody knows." -- Simon Wells, great-grandson of H.G. Wells, in an article about upcoming time travel movies entitled "Time travelers arriving in far greater numbers", appearing in USA Today


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