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woodnote (wood'-noht (wood - rhymes with could, just like you'd expect)) n. verbal expression that is natural and artless. [From its likeness to the call of a bird in the woods.]

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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow  :(

Even the children
for whom this movie was made
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"Contracted Fluxx-itis several years ago on a camping trip with some friends. It lay dormant until this past summer, when I had a flare-up and bought it in my local game shop. I immediately infected my girlfriend, then went on to spread the bug to my friends in my graduate program. Now several of them own their own decks and have been likewise infecting others -- including parents, co-workers, and just about anybody who will stop long enough for us to get our Fluxx germs on them." -- Jordan W of Berkeley, CA

Thursday, April 13th, 2006
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My Little Friend Hefty

I have previously observed that you're never too old to play with stuffed animals. With this in mind, and nothing else in particular for me to talk about this week, I'd like to introduce you to my little friend Hefty.

In that other article, I talked about why stuffed animals are so great, mentioning that Kristin's favorite bear Stony is charming in part for his size. So it is with Hefty, except in the opposite direction; whereas Stony is huge, Hefty is very small. What's more, he's actual size: Hefty is a mouse-sized stuffed mouse.

As his name suggests, Hefty is surprisingly hefty. Instead of an ordinary cloth skin, Hefty is made of sturdy gray leather, and he's filled with tiny pieces of metal, causing him to be quite the little heavy-weight.

Hefty has been hanging around our house for years... we picked him up at a PhilCon some while back. But only in the last couple of months has he become my special favorite, when I realized I needed a date for the Stuffed Animal Tea Party at GenghisCon.

Suddenly, I had to ask myself: who's my favorite stuffed animal?

Kristin of course would be bringing Stony... even though he takes up a ridiculous amount of space in the luggage, Kristin's bear has been everywhere from Las Vegas to the coffeeshops of Amsterdam and he wasn't about to miss out on our first Stuffed Animal Tea Party.

Alison, who doesn't like having only one favorite and tends to travel with several plushies, had to choose between Zig-Zag (the snake with a great personality), Nurple the Purple Frog, a couple of oversized Gund bears (Munchie and Mongo) and a sea-turtle named Stanley.

But what about me? Who would I go with to the Stuffed Animals Party?

So I walked around the house, looking for candidates. There's Malachai, our oldest Gund bear (whom I was given by my first serious girlfriend, Amy); there are lots of plush pyramids (like Daddy-O); there's even a big green alligator named Albert (whom my mom made for me when I was young). But none of these seemed quite right.

Hefty of course was the perfect choice. He's so cute, and his petite size makes him just the sort of friend I can keep in my pocket or game-bag, to pull out whenever it's a good time for play.

Hefty is great to have around during game-playing, since he can sit right there on the table with your other game stuff and make snide remarks on your behalf to your opponents. (Look for him in the photo of our game of Animals Fluxx at NonCon: he's on the table there, with my Keepers.) I'm reminded of the little metal man Russell carries around, and how he would sit on the table next to Russell's planet, taunting me, during the many games of Binary Homeworlds we've played during our travels together.

Stuffed animals are also great, as I've explained before, because they let you give voice to thoughts you might not feel you can express directly (such as the desire to order a pizza) and Hefty is no exception. Previously, for example, when caught stealing cheese from the fridge, all I could say was that I was getting in touch with my inner mouse. But now I can blame it on Hefty!

Hefty is quite the cheese hound. We recently discovered that he gets ideas for how to sneak more cheese into our diet by reading articles in Sneaky Cheese Magazine. (Hefty insists he reads it for the articles, not just for the beautiful photos of attractive-looking cheeses. (I guess you could call them "cheesecake" photos...))

So I've been having lots of fun with this little toy mouse, which by the way is a product of Sandy Vohr's Leather Zoo. (Look for his siblings in the Tiny Heavy Animals department.)

But the funny thing is, only now am I realizing that I've *always* had a special fondest for pretend-friend mice.

I'm remembering now that when I was a kid, one of my favorite stuffed animals was a purple beanbag mouse I named Purple-angelo. This toy mouse was made by the Mary Meyer company, who also made a similar mouse with a wind-up motor inside that made the mouse "dance." I built up a collection of these wind-up mice but my favorite was always the original bean-bag style, which was apparently discontinued almost immediately. The wind-up mice are also long gone at this point... I spoke with people at the Mary Meyer booth at a trade show we were at recently, and no one there remembered anything about the toy mice of which I excitedly spoke.

Purple-angelo (and his comrade mice) had many adventures while I was growing up, but he wasn't as sturdy as Hefty and sadly, is no longer around. (I still have a couple of the wind-up species, although they no longer dance.) But thinking about Purple-angelo made me realize how much I've always liked mice.

I love mice characters in children's books. To name just a few, there's Anatole Over Paris, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Rolly the Railroad Mouse, the mouse from the Gus Was A Whatever-Kind-Of Ghost series, and of course, the two white mice from the HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Another classic popped into my mind this week, while watching a fancy-cake making competition on the Food Network: The Sugar Mouse Cake. (I've been trying to remember the name of this book for years, and finally discovered it again via the internet... but unfortunately, it's out of print, and used copies sell for hundreds of dollars!)

I do have to say, though, that not all fanciful mice characters appeal to me. For example, while I admire and enjoy much that is Disney, I've never been particularly fond of Mickey Mouse. He just doesn't seem like a mouse to me, more like just a weird human. He's not the right size at all, being as big as a duck and large enough to have his own dog.

Sometimes my fondness for anthropomorphized mice makes me feel guilty about my real life pets... my little cat has been known to catch real-life mice, and I feed my pet snake a mouse every couple of weeks. (I try to keep Hefty from knowing about these things. I hope he never sees this webpage!)

Well, I've rambled on long enough. To sum up: You're never too old to play with stuffed animals, and mice are cool.

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great week!

Thought Residue
If you've been following the debate over which name we should use for one of our new Holy Fluxx expansions, you'll be interested to know that we've finally decided to change it from Bible Fluxx to Christian Fluxx. Although there were many votes for the name Bible Fluxx, it just doesn't sound right alongside Jewish Fluxx.

I'm pleased to report that my old purple car will be getting a good home! The auction was won by a man folks call Grumpy, and he's just the sort of guy I was hoping would buy it - he likes tinkering with old cars (he's even owned this kind before), his wife loves the color (and the cool gear shift knob), and he's planning to fix it up and keep it running! Since he's from West Virginia he won't be concerned with the Maryland Emissions Testing issue that prompted me to go ahead and sell the car, and he thinks he knows how to fix the cause of the smells that makes me worried it wouldn't pass the Emissions Test. In short, Grumpy is my dream buyer! And I'm getting $150 for it! Yay!
I recently posted a long article with an update on our plans for moving to Canada, and why it's taking so long. One thing I didn't mention was the change in their political climate. Two years ago, Canada's liberal government was on the verge of decriminalizing cannabis, but now, their Conservative Prime Minister is attempting to reverse all that, not just scrapping the decrim plan but pledging to increase penalties and worse. We have many reasons for wanting to go north, but as anti-prohibition activists, one of the biggest was their recent proximity to marijuana freedom. Suddenly, I'm in less of a hurry... moving to Stephen Harper's Canada just isn't as appealing.

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