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"The wind, lightning and thunder raged outside our home, and the lights flickered numerous times, but we didn't care. We were too busy playing a game called Fluxx... if you know some players seeking a diversion during the dog days of summer or any other time, try Fluxx. It's inspired pandemonium that can keep entertaining for hours." -- Adele Kroh Lile, from her review in the Courier-Journal of Louisville, KY

Thursday, September 9th, 2004
by the Writer's Guild of Wunderland

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What's Going On? We Almost Died While Driving to Dragon*Con

This week finds the 3 of us feeling very glad to be alive. Last Wednesday afternoon, we were in a serious car accident. Fortunately, there were only minor injuries, but it so easily could have been a whole lot worse...

Here's what happened. We were driving down I-95, near Fredericksburg, Virginia, in our heavily-loaded van (named Bertha) when the rear-left tire blew out. Alison was at the wheel, and she was doing a great job of getting the out-of-control-swerving under control and slowing us down, trying to pull over, when suddenly, the right-front tire also blew out. When the 2nd tire blew, the van swerved out of control again, spinning back into traffic and into the path of an on-coming 18-wheeler.

As we spun to the left, Alison remembers looking through the side window and seeing the truck barreling down on us, wondering then if her next moment would be her last. Luckily, the truck didn't hit us head on. As we spun counter-clockwise, the truck smashed into the front corner of our van. The impact sent us spinning in the opposite direction, and we collided again, this time smashing the back corner of our van.

We came to a rest facing the wrong way on the highway and were immediately grateful to be alive. If our van had been a little more completely turned around and a little more directly in the path of the 18-wheeler (or if we'd been in a smaller, less durable car) then I'm certain that someone, if not all of 3 of us, would have been killed.

As it turned out though, we're all OK. Alison's shoulder was the worst injury... she was taken to the hospital on stretcher. Kristin rode with her in an ambulance, but her only injury was a bad case of whiplash, which left her wearing one of those foam collar-things to help her neck muscles hold up her head. As for me, I wasn't hurt at all. Neither was the driver of the truck.

OK, so there I was, standing next to the shattered remains of Bertha the van, with bits of our stuff falling out of the broken windows, wondering how, and even if, we'd be able to continue on to the Intergalactic Spaceport (i.e. Dragon*Con). Fortunately, since as I said I wasn't hurt at all, I was able to function, and I got a ride with the tow truck driver to a place were I was able to unload the contents of the totaled vehicle into a hastily-rented U-Haul truck. Because of cell phones I was able to stay in touch with the girls, and knowing that they were alive and reasonably well allowed me to focus on the salvage work. By the time Alison was discharged (after being x-rayed up, down, and sideways and being given permission to continue on the trip) I had the new vehicle fully loaded and we were able to resume our journey. Amazingly enough, we arrived in Atlanta the following evening, only slightly behind schedule, and our booth was set up and opened right on time.

So while the trip there was a disaster (and the trip home was no joy-ride either), Dragon*Con itself was a huge success. This was our third year there and everything went really well. We've started to build up quite a community of fans at this event, so we had lots of enthusiastic rabbits on hand to help... including 27 new rabbits who signed up this weekend! Of course there was quite an outpouring of sympathy and concern and relief that we weren't all dead, particularly when we pointed to the poster-sized blow-up of the above photo that we got printed and put up in our booth. (Being a convention with a strong emphasis on costumes, people often failed to grasp that Kristin and Alison's "injured hippie" costumes were really the result of a near-death experience.)

As usual, I'd like to send a big thanks out to everyone who helped make this year's Dragon*Con a particularly memorable success.

My favorite event of the weekend was something new we tried this year, called "Andy vs. Everybody!" in which I played our games with 33 opponents all at the same time. The other players were all seated at various tables arranged in a big circle, and each group had a little flag they could raise to indicate that it was my turn in that particular game, and they also had a little bell they could ring to get my attention. To provide further incentive, each table also had a little dish into which a small piece of chocolate would be placed, to help lure me over.

And so, for a solid hour, I ran from table to table, taking my turn as quickly as I could, and playing in a total of 19 separate games, the first 11 of which were all happening simultaneously. And it was a blast! Everyone had fun, most of all me, and I even won 4 times! And what were the games I was playing? 3 tables had Fluxx going, 2 more were playing Stoner Fluxx, there were 2 games of Aquarius and 2 games of Early American Chrononauts, plus a game of Volcano, and even a game of Proton. It was a hoot! We're definitely going to do this again!

Other stuff that happened at Dragon*Con:

  • We gave away lots and lots of Pterodactyls. The city of Atlanta is now swarming with giant prehistoric birds! (This was the last of this year's special promo cards... we'll try to find time soon to get the 2004 promo card packs available in our webstore.)
  • I gave a talk I called "Imagining the Future: After Weed is Legalized" in which I discussed the various different types of drug-law reform and the corresponding ways future societies will be shaped by whatever form of decriminalization we succeed someday in accomplishing. Of course, I spent a lot of the time describing the scene in Amsterdam. (When I get some more time, I'll be posting a written version of my talk online.)
  • Russell, Bob, and I finally got a chance to finish up the Binary Homeworlds tournament that went into triple overtime at Origins. Congratulations, Russell! You are indeed a steely-eyed starship captain.

Anyway, we're all very very happy to be alive. However, we now need to get new van. Renting trucks is horrendously expensive, and we can't do another convention until we get another vehicle. (Consequently, we have canceled our plans to attend GameFest-Richmond next weekend.) Does anyone have a lead on a decent used utility van for sale in our area?

AndyHave a Safe Week!


the story so far

Thought Residue
I was at a diner, eating a slice of chocolate cream pie, when I discovered a small piece of metal in my mouth. I assumed one of my fillings had popped out, and rushed to see my dentist. It was a false alarm -- my fillings are fine -- but even so, I've decided to finally take my dentist's advice, and switch over to Diet Coke.

"The core issue is this: Our president is incompetent. He is not a good president. Let me count the ways... [Reason #] (6) He is diminishing scientific progress, the great engine of the 20th century. Only the truly ignorant can believe that the proper role of government is to hinder medical research and environmental study in the name of God." -- Richard Reeves, "The Real Issue: Bush Is Incompetent"
"If ever there were high crimes and misdemeanors, the lies about the war in Iraq fit that category. We are an odd people. We impeach a president because he lied about his private sex life, which killed no one and harmed no one beyond his family. Yet we support and may well re-elect a 'strong' president whose lies are responsible for so many flag-draped caskets, so many poignant obituaries, and so much grief. How many women are sobbing in church these days because of Bush's lies?" -- Andrew Greeley, "Bush's Lies Cause Untold Pain"

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