Wow. We've been getting ready for Y2K for so long, it's hard
to believe it's really arrived. But here we are, in the Year
2000, the very definition (when I was growing up at least) of
"the Future". And while it's not quite the Future we
all envisioned back in the Seventies, it's still a pretty cool
one. Technology has changed forever the way we live and work,
in ways They said it would, and in ways They never could have
imagined. Of course, today's Future is no utopia; we still have
the burden of marijuana prohibition,
not to mention AIDS, global warming, rap music, massacres at
high schools, a prison population of nearly 2 million Americans,
long distance phone rate commercials, South Park, and drive-by
shootings... but we also have VCRs, wireless hand-held communicators,
computers-built-in-to-everything, remote control units for everything
else, microwave ovens, this thing called the Internet, Tomb Raider,
a fully-operational Moonbase, Caller ID, and Time
Travel. (Wait, have they invented Time Travel yet? What year
is this again?)
Anyway, I'm excited about the Future. We stand now at the
entrance to a whole new century, a time filled with endless possibilities
and tremendous potential. It's a great time to be alive. How
will the new century be different from the old one? I look forward
to finding out.
But man, that "1/6/00" thing up at the top of this
page sure is weird. It looks so wrong, so *unreal*. It doesn't
look like a date at all, it looks like a model number or an access
code. Alison is advocating using "2K" instead of "00"
in cases like this.. perhaps I'll give that a try. As for computers
having trouble with the date, the only rollover problems I've
seen myself are those that were done deliberately, for comedic
effect. Y2K was Halley's comet all over again... lots of hype
and buildup, but nothing much to see in the end. But I guess
that's really just as well.
marked the passing of the century by testing out our Nuclear
Home Defense System, the infamous Atomic
Bomb. Leslie ushered in the New Year for us by pushing the
button at 11:59PM, so that the blast would occur right at midnight...
but of course, our bomb malfunctioned as usual, and so a happy
new year will be had by all. Let's make it a good one!
Speaking of Leslie, this girl is amazing. She's like a machine.
We're about halfway through her 19-day visit, and let me tell
you, it's been an intense week. She's here to write a 2-year
business plan for us, and she's been working on it night and
day ever since getting here. It's like 20 or 30 pages long at
this point, and it's still growing and evolving. (I haven't read
much of it yet, since I'm waiting until the first draft is complete,
but from what I can tell, it's gonna be great.)
Leslie is like the only person I've ever seen who works as
hard and as continually as Kristin,
and when the two of them started working together on this project,
you could see this really cool synergy forming from their combined
energies. Since I am one with little knowledge of business matters
(and no desire to learn of them), my eyes tend to glaze over
when Kristin starts taking about business-type concerns. So it's
been really cool seeing her plan the future of Looney
Labs with someone who not only speaks the language, but wants
to talk that language all day and all night. And that's what
they've been doing, hammering away on this business plan non-stop,
filling up spreadsheets with all kinds of numbers, making pie
charts, performing break-even analyses and sales forecasting,
and even closing out the '99 books and going out to Annapolis
to review them with our accountant.
It's enough to make your head spin, and while Alison
and I have been doing everything we can to help out, we've also
kind of just been staying out of their way. We've had plenty
of other things to do: Alison did the year-end inventory, and
I've been up to my eyebones in web work this week, overhauling
all my archive pages. Plus we've been tying up the loose ends
from Christmas. (You know, taking down the tree, figuring out
what to do with all the new stuff we got, eating chocolate, and
finally getting the last of the gifts and letters mailed out.)
Leslie is incredible, and the work she is doing for us right
now is indispensable. Since she's a college student, she's still
willing to do things like dropping everything else and diving
into a huge and challenging project with no real pay to speak
of (aside from room & board, entertainment expenses, and
a big box of Looney Labs games) but someday she'll be out there
in the real world looking for a job that actually pays, and if
you happen to be the one doing the interview, then hire her,
she's amazing. Just remember the name: Leslie Burgoyne.
One thing we noticed right away when we did inventory is that
we still have a fair number of 1999 calendar shirts left over,
and now that the year has rolled, the market for these things
has really dried up. So, we've decided to try to sell them all
off, by offering them to you at cost. That's right, leftover
calendar shirts are now just $7.28 each! And they're tie-dyes,
too! Get 'em while they last!
The shirts originally came in a plain off-white ("ash")
as well as colorful tie-dye, but most of the ash shirts are now
gone. (We're gonna hang on to the last few ash shirts, since
they'll be useful in pitching the idea for a 2001 calendar shirt
to manufacturers and distributors of calendars. And say... does
anyone out there know anyone in the novelty calendar industry?)
So it's the leftover tie-dyes that we're hoping to liquidate.
(At first, it seemed like they'd be the most popular; at the
product release party, when we were giving them out free, almost
everyone chose tie-dye over ash; but when we put 'em on sale,
we charged a premium for the tie-dyes (well, they cost us extra,
too) and consequently, they didn't sell as well.
But now, they're a bargain. It's still a tie-dyed shirt, and
even though the year is no longer correct, the calendar events
are still cool, since most of them aren't current year-specific.
(Lots of people continued to wear their '92
calendar shirts for years after it was out of date.) So grab
one now, before they're all gone!
On Tuesday, we got to hang out for a bit with
Dave Bondi. He did the game art for Icebreaker
and he's a really cool guy, but I haven't seen him since he fled
the Magnet implosion by packing up and moving out to Los Angeles.
Sadly, he was only in town for a few days, but it was really
fun catching up with him... I wish he didn't live so far away.
Hanging out with Bondi made me think about that year we spent
developing Icebreaker, and after he'd gone, I pulled out the
logbook I'd kept during the writing of that software. I decided
to look up the entry for that day's date, to see what I was back
doing then. It's an interesting entry, with a taped-in code sample
and a little drawing of a seeker trying to move between two pits.
And it has a great quote:
"Dare I contemplate a full Hazard Avoidance re-write?"
I raised this possibility on 1/4/95; it appears that by January
10th, I had finished doing exactly that. And as I recall, it
made a big difference.