[Looney Labs] [Shopping Center]
News Archives

[Guide] [Games] [E-Books] [WTS]

The Tartle

Chris Welsh says, "Now we're going to have to continue..."
Tara says, "Don't press the box!"

Cool Words

maven (may'ven) n. a person who has special knowlege or experience; an expert. from Yiddish meyvn from Hebrew mebin to understand.

Haiku Reviews

Star Trek: Nemesis :|

Only resemblance
between Picard and Shinzon
is that they're both bald.

Tirade's Choice

Peanuts Tarot

Medicine for poor countries

"You probably had to be there, to watch the puzzled, shocked, annoyed, wounded and eventually apoplectic looks that crossed and recrossed the faces of my near and dear (including the Corry of Forry, who frequently nosed her way in to investigate despite her obvious humor impairment, and my wary father, who had to endure all of the women in his life nearly spitting with laughter every time he came into the kitchen to freshen his drink. We couldn't get him to play for some reason). Anyway, my family and I are now hooked, and I plan to spread this game like a new gospel." -- Kate Sherrod, talking about Fluxx in her 12/26/2002 blog entry at Life in a Northern Town

Thursday, January 2, 2003
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

What's New?

What's Going On? Welcome Marlene / Thank You Dale!

Happy New Year! Here's hoping your holidays were as wonderful as ours. We enjoyed all the usual traditions: gift exchanges, heavy dinners, light saber battles... Yes, my nephew James has discovered the awesome power of Star Wars, and wants to be Darth Vader when he grows up. So we got him a light saber labeled "Darth James" (it didn't matter that this was his second light saber, since as you can see he can wield two at once) and since we wanted to be sure his twin sister would be able to defend herself, we got Sharon a lovely purple light saber and labeled it "Princess Sharon." As you can see, the Force is strong with her as well.

I could tell many other stories about gifts and parties and good times had during the holidays, but I'll let it go at that. Thanks so very much to everyone for the cool gifts, tasty treats, colorful cards, and best wishes! And here's hoping we all have a fantastic 2003!

Another thing that happened over the holidays is that we have hired a new employee! Marlene Bruce (aka Ember) has been a part of our online community for years, and a close friend of ours as far back as any of us can remember. (Andy has known her since 1977!) She moved out to California a year or so ago, and started doing weekly Ember Updates a few months later. She has continued to keep us and our readers up to date on her California adventure ever since.

Marlene will be serving as our webmaster, on a part-time basis, and will be digging in and helping us with very different types of webmastering duties than what Dale was involved with. As you can see from her resume, she has a ton of experience in design and usability, which is just what SuperFRED needs right now. We're contemplating the idea of bringing her on full-time, and having her do webmaster stuff half-time and sales stuff half-time... but first Kristin needs to get the books up to date and figure out just how good sales were this holiday. (They seemed really good, but how good were they really?) Also, Marlene needs to follow up on some other job leads... but it looks like she might be moving home, and she might even start working for us full-time! Wow, now wouldn't that be cool? Even if it's only part-time, it's going to be great having Mar working with us.

With this changing of the guard, Dale Newfield, who has been serving as our volunteer webmaster and freelance SuperFRED programmer for a couple of years now, will no longer be involved with the technical running of things here at Looney Labs.

We first met Dale in the early Icehouse Games days, long before Looney Labs even existed. In fact, it was Dale and Eeyore who created the very first online presence for any of our games, and hosted the Icehouse Mailing List on their college list server. Their Unofficial Icehouse Page is still online, but we took over the mailing list in February of 1999.

We saw Dale from time to time over the years, but it was at a Greenbelt Drum Jam late in 1999, that he started to move from random fan into a new and growing friendship. Kristin has fond memories of hanging out in the woods that day, telling Dale about her ideas for a demo team of fans called the Mad Lab Rabbits which we had just launched the week before. About six months later, Dale stepped forward for the position of volunteer Unix Guy to help Kristin out with some of her webmastering duties, and after a great house cooling party in Charlottesville, he left grad school and moved to DC for a cool new high-tech job and part-time geek work with Looney Labs.

While Dale was busy designing distributed-computing systems at his day job, we spent a lot of time hanging out and playing games at Wunderland.Earth and Kristin really enjoyed having a UNIX geek around. But it wasn't until January of the next year that he really became our webmaster, when Kristin was faced with moving our server again. The last time we had done a website move like this, Kristin did it alone (at least she thinks she did... we can't remember if anyone responded to this plea for help a few months earlier) so Kristin was very excited to have Dale's help with the move.

Dale helped out with all sorts of technical stuff all throughout 2001, although he didn't get involved with building SuperFRED until much later. If you've been following our story, you know we had a number of false starts building Kristin's vision for the Mad Lab Rabbits program. (And the story is far from finished.) Mostly Dale was working at his day job during all of this, but served as head volunteer geek rabbit, tracking down lost rabbits, and getting Craig Forbe's online Lost ID voting system running on our server. He even came to our rescue and helped Kristin get our network operational again when our DSL provider went belly up. It was great having Dale around.

It was the middle of 2001 someplace when we got serious about building SuperFRED, and we started putting real money on the line and started paying real programmers to build it for us. Can you believe the quality of the work was far lower than anything we had been getting from our volunteer fans for years? Go figure.

One thing led to another and in October we found ourselves in need of a new programmer, right about the same time that Dale found himself in need of employment. (The startup he was working for did that thing that startups always seem to do: fizzle out.) We were still calling it the Wunderlist back then, but Kristin and Dale dug in to try get the project on track, and they ultimately fired the original company that was building the thing and continued well into the next year building the system themselves. As Krisitin likes to put it, no one will be winning any efficiency awards for the project management on this one.

Luckily, just about the time that we had completely run out of money and simply could not afford to keep paying him, Dale found a new job. He continued to work hard on the project on credit, for a couple of months, spending much of his spare time on it (outside both his job and his wonderful new girlfriend) and for this we are grateful. Our new programmer, Liam, has picked up where Dale left off, and the system continues to grow and evolve... but we never could have launched before the holiday season without this extra push from Dale.

SuperFRED rocks! Kristin keeps talking about how much more needs to be done, but I've seen the system in action. One of our retailers will call, asking about the status of their order, and within a few clicks she has at her fingertips a list of everything this customer has ordered from us in the last 4 years. It needs a lot of spit and polish, and there will always be new features we want to add... but SuperFRED lives, and has already started contributing to our success.

Thank you Dale for all that you have contributed to Looney Labs over the years... we appreciate your hard work and dedication, and we wish you lots of happiness in life.


PS: Please excuse the lateness of this report... we were making rather merry last week.

the story so far

Thought Residue
Yay for Canada! An Ontario judge has ruled that possessing marijuana is no longer illegal for anyone in Canada, since federal laws against marijuana possession have been rendered invalid. It's hard to believe, but marijuana prohibition is actually coming to an end up there! How much longer can our "land of the free" remain an island of oppressive drug laws in a world of increasing sanity?

We've started using a timer when we play Are You a Werewolf? and it's a big improvement. The length of each "day" is determined by the current number of players; you put 3 minutes on the clock for each person still alive. When the timer runs out, a final vote is taken, and if no one gets a majority of votes, then no one is lynched that day.
My wish for a movie based on the excellent Ken Grimwood book Replay is being granted! It's going to star Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, who I suppose are reasonable choices.


Send email to

Mailing Lists

[FAQ] [Mailing Lists] [Testimonials]

Upcoming Appearances

  • Arisia (Jan 17-19, 2003)
  • Toy Fair (Feb)
  • GAMA Trade Show (March)
  • Origins (June)
  • Gen-Con (July)

Play Our Games!

Lost Identities
Cosmic Coasters

Are You a Werewolf?

Our Sponsors, Our Websites
Looney Labs
Contagious Dreams

Related Newsfeeds:


News Search Gift Shop Games About Us

http://www.wunderland.com | contact us