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Thursday, September 24th, 2009

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Tirade's Choice

Building the International Space Station

"I am a grad student pursuing a Masters of Occupational Therapy degree. I recently finished a three month internship on the rehabilitation unit of a skilled nursing facility. The facility is a non-profit organization, and consequently does not have a large or varied amount of therapy supplies for use during patient treatment sessions. During my internship, I worked with a lot of patients who were admitted to the facility for stroke rehab, and I immediately brought in my Treehouse pieces to use for fine motor rehab. I cannot tell you how great Treehouse pieces are for fine motor rehab and cognitive rehab -- I used the pieces to work on in-hand manipulation, the pad-to-pad grasp, the tripod grasp, supination and pronation, visual motor integration, visual perceptual skills, sequencing, etc etc etc. It was easy to grade activities to match patients' skill level due to the various sizes of the pyramids, allowing me to continually increase the challenge as patients' fine motor and cognitive function improved. By the end of my internship all of the occupational therapists at the facility were using my Treehouse pieces with patients who had fine motor and/or cognitive goals. [...] I want to send a big thank you to all those involved in the creation of a product that helped patients make remarkable progress on the fine motor skills needed to accomplish even the simplest of everyday tasks. I will continue to use and recommend your product as an excellent therapy tool." -- email from Alece K of Seattle, WA

Rash talks about vandals who smashed his car window and stole his briefcase, and about his teaching job, his teeth, his new apartment, and his summertime travels. His round-up of links includes the Fifty Best Things to Eat in the World, the '59 Chevy vs. 2009 Chevy, the ghost fleet of the recession, how marijuana became legal, the ultimate southron speed trap town, Spiral Shell House Design, Eight Inspirational Older People, the Nerd Venn Diagram, Stuff White People Like & Stuff Christian Culture Likes, the billion-dollar-gram, Recycled shipping containers transformed into trendy homes, 21 Horrible Fashion Ideas that Took Off, and the Dream of the Blue Laser Diode.

Kristin's Factory Tour, New Products, New Bed, the new FBI, etc

Greetings loyal readers! First let me apologize again for the long delay... to quote Ginohn, "It is so easy not to blog. So easy."

We had a very busy summer, and the pressure hasn't stopped. In the previous update, I talked about the three new releases we have in the works, with one coming out every month; keeping up with that schedule has been difficult enough, yet we've been adding more projects to the list! But I'll come back to that.

Aquarius 2.0 has been for sale for a few weeks now, and it's been getting great reviews, as shown above. Martian Fluxx is too -- although it isn't actually being released until tomorrow, we made demo copies available early for stores and reviewers to preview, and as a result, it's already getting reviews. Great ones, too! I'm very excited to finally have this game out, since I think it's actually my personal favorite version of Fluxx.

The slightly revised edition of Chrononauts, the fourth printing, known as version 1.4, is being printed now and is on schedule for its big release on October 23rd. More excitingly, The Gore Years expansion is being released at the same time. Check out the new page about the Gore Years for a detailed sneak peek of what's inside (unless you'd rather wait and be surprised).

In other news, Kristin just got back from a trip to Seattle, where she had some face time with Jessica, our still-new Director of Sales & Marketing, and attended the gigantic PAX convention. On her way back she stopped off in Michigan to visit our card printer. She was at the factory as they were working on Martian Fluxx and got to watch as finished decks were being assembled. She even captured some footage -- check out factory tour video I just posted to YouTube!

Meanwhile, at our new house, Alison has been building a bed, of her own design, complete with fancy fixtures like these beautiful daisy headboard panels. I've been helping her out now and then, cutting boards in half, carrying them around, realizing they wouldn't fit up the stairs and cutting them in half again, painting, varnishing, etc. I'll be really glad when it's all done.

But the biggest news of the moment is a story I'm deliberately burying deep in this update, even though it's our biggest news story of the moment. It's kind of a secret news story.

See, there's this special version of Fluxx we printed a few years ago, which is of a controversial nature and intended for adults only. Although it was very successful (it sold out quickly and has since become the subject of numerous requests), we've been deliberately neglecting to reprint it, because of it being controversial in nature & intended only for Adults. Since everything else published by Looney Labs is family-friendly and great for all ages, this one product is an exception to the image we've been developing for ourselves. Which is why we've been letting it stay out of print... until now.

We are currently in the process of launching a new imprint company, called Fully Baked Ideas, which will become the new publisher of our forbidden classic, as well as other new adult-oriented products we've been contemplating. Just as Disney launched Touchstone Pictures in 1984 as a way to release movies featuring "more mature themes than those that are released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner," Fully Baked Ideas will allow us to publish games appropriate for Spencer's but not well suited to inclusion in the regular Looney Labs catalog.

Part of our approach to separating these markets will be for Looney Labs -- and this webzine -- to say very little about Fully Baked Ideas. So except for this initial annoucement, I won't be talking about it here. If you are over 18, I invite you to click on the link, and thereafter to pay attention to what happens over there. (And if you're on FaceBook, become a fan of Fully Baked Ideas!)

AndyThanks for reading, and have a great Whenever! (I'll try to make it a sooner Whenever next time...)

Thought Residue
What's going to happen to the Space Shuttles when NASA decides to stop using them? I say one of them should just be left in space, attached to the ISS. Wouldn't that then give the ISS the engines it needs to move into higher orbits, or even out into space, as was proposed by Michael Benson in that brilliant editorial he wrote in July '08? Even if it's not viable to fly the ISS to the moon with the shuttle's engines, it still seems like it'd be more useful to have an old shuttle attached to the ISS than sitting around in a museum...

I'm a non-drinker -- I've only gotten drunk on a handful of occasions. I'm a super-taster, so I find the flavor of alcohol bitterly nasty, even in drinks people tell me "you can't taste the alcohol" in. But lately I've been playtesting a drinking game, so I decided to try it again, and to find out what "my" drink should be. After conducting some taste-tests, I've settled on something of my own invention, designed to appeal to my fussy taste buds as much as possible. It's chocolate milk (the rich-and-creamiest you can get please) spiked with Bailey's Irish Creme. I've been calling it a Count Chocula. Hey bartenders -- is there a real name for my drink?
Check it out! Some dude got the artwork from of the Toaster card in Fluxx TATTOOED on his leg! (This photo was taken at Gen-Con, which I missed again this year... :-( Here's a big thanks to Shane and the other rabbits who ran Looney Labs gaming without us!) I'm so glad we didn't totally change the art for that card when we published version 4.0! We did colorize it, but it's still the same old toaster. I would have felt so bad if we'd made his leg obsolete!

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