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Sketchbook HarvestNanofiction

Before the Beginning of Time

While Futurama was the hit back in 1939, the most popular pavilion at the New York World's Fair in 2039 was by ChronoVision. Their technology beamed images back from the living past, displaying them on television screens. Reruns thus became the greatest attraction ever, and each historical mystery was unraveled, except one: Who created God?

#12's Nanofics

New this week:
The Battle On The Mountain


"Teens Honor God Through Sex" - me

Cool Words

wiredrawn (wyre'-dron) adj. excessively minute and subtle

Haiku Reviews

The Thirteenth Warrior :-|
Typical Crichton -
good guys outnumbered by beasts.
Beats Congo, for sure.Daddy-O's Reviews

The Poseidon Adventure

"The Poseidon Adventure" was the "Titanic" of 1972 (isn't it interesting how the name Titanic can now be used to summon up the image of both an epic disaster and a mega-success?) and it not only kicked off the disaster movie sub-genre of the 1970s, but it also sparked my own first attempts at writing, my first obsession with a movie's soundtrack music, and my first fascination with shipwrecks involving ocean liners. [more]

Tirade's Choice

Planet X Magazine
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When I Grow Up

Thursday, February 10, 2000
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Toy Fair Prep / Batman / NORML Conf

The deadline that's been crushing our skulls this week is Toy Fair. This very important event takes place next week, which means that the deadlines for getting our materials ready for the show have all been hitting us this week. So, we've been busy making signs, wrangling furnishings, and in particular, creating printed matter like catalogs, business cards, forms for writing orders, and other handouts.

Key among our new propaganda is a set of tear sheets, one for each of our products. Kristin's been trying to get me to make these one page marketing documents for almost a year now, but until this week there's always been something more important for me to do. Kristin's so happy to finally have them that she doesn't mind their late arrival... now when a store calls, wanting info on one of our games, she has a handy one page sheet to fax out to them, with customer testimonials and plenty of other info on the games. More importantly, by stapling a color cover on top and a retailer terms sheet at the end, we finally have an up-to-date catalog again! (Note to Mad Lab Rabbits: If you're trying (or planning) to get your local game store to carry our games, then check out the updated Rabbit pages for info on getting a copy of the new Retailer catalog.)

Preparing for Toy Fair is a momentous occasion for us. In fact, it's something of a rite of passage. Toy Fair, you see, is The Big Time. Eight years ago, back in the rustic early days of Icehouse Games, we attended Toy Fair as mere industry guests, and found it very intimidating. As we walked past the occasional stark booth, staffed by a sad-looking Dreamer exhibiting a solitary product (or worse, simply a prototype, in the case of Dreamers hoping to find publishers), we were acutely aware of our own microscopic size in this overwhelmingly vast ocean. Determined to avoid looking like the operators of a lemonade stand on the floor of the stock exchange, we stayed away from Toy Fair for years, meanwhile growing our business, biding our time, until we felt ready to perform, with confidence, on the big stage.

Last year we attended as guests once again, this time not as trembling novices but as a recon party, scoping out the event with an eye to actually exhibiting the following year. And now, that year has gone by, and the event is suddenly upon us! But we're ready. We've got a great looking catalog and five delicious flavors of lemonade. We're psyched! Tune in next week for a report on how it all went, but be warned: the update will likely be a day or two late.

OK, so I'm half-watching Super Friends, on the Cartoon Network, and Batman and Robin are battling it out at the old abandoned amusement park, with some super-genius bent on world domination. So what else is new, right? So Batman announces that, of course, this madman must be stopped, and declares "I know just how to do it." OK, great, Batman has a plan. But the next scene shows Batman in the front seat of the roller coaster. He's the only passenger as the coaster plunges down the first hill, moving generally in the direction of the super-genius madman, who (of course) simply uses his giant brain to telekenetically pull Batman's coaster car off the tracks (or something). So then we see Robin's assault: he comes cruising along towards the bad guy in a bumper car. The Villain scoffs, taking aim with his brain, but Robin gets the last laugh, as we see not one but *ten* bumper cars, all rushing towards the Villain, apparently all driven by Robin. The Villain, confused by the multitude of Robins, is overwhelmed. "I told you those inflatable dummies would turn out to be useful!" cries Batman exultantly.

I think all this happened in under a minute, but it made my brain hurt for hours afterwards. What exactly was Batman's great plan? I guess it was simply to create a diversion, so that Robin (or perhaps Wonder Woman - she was also involved somehow) could make the real attack... but even if we assume that riding a roller coaster is a good way of attacking a Super Villain, how was he able to instantly get the coaster operational? I'd be surprised if it worked at all, given that it's in an abandoned amusement park. The same problems present themselves with Robin and the bumper cars, but on top of that, bumper cars get their power from the mesh of wires in the ceiling, so there's no way Robin could drive out of the bumper car arena. But all of this is as nothing to the real trick: getting 9 bumper cars piloted by inflatable dummies to follow you, in attack formation, out of the building at once! OK, let's assume even this could happen. Don't you think a super-genius would be able to discern which of the drivers was a human, and which were inflatable dummies? But here's the real question: why would anyone ever abandon an amusement park?

As my regular readers know, I've been following the marijuana law reform movement quite closely ever since a visit to Amsterdam in 1997. Over the weekend, Leslie was in town for the NORML conference, and although we're up to our gills in work, we decided to goof off for a couple of days and attend ourselves. And we're really glad we did: Not only was it was a great conference, we even signed up some new retailers!

The event was held at a hotel downtown, and at first glance, it looked like any other boring assembly of men and women in business suits. But then you notice the content of the speakers' remarks, the pot leaves here and there on the handouts, and the occasional attendee wearing tie-dyes, and you realize that the marijuana law reform movement has gone professional. They're well-organized, and they're getting things done. Within this movement, there is a genuine sense that the tide is turning, that our side is starting to win. In California, where medical use was legalized in 1996, an Amsterdam-style tolerance is apparently developing, at least in places like San Francisco and Oakland, where Cannabis Buyer's Clubs are now thriving. (Some even sell things like games on the side.) Half a dozen other states have followed suit with similar laws, and in Alaska, a full scale legalization initiative will be on the ballot this November. Our side is rapidly gaining numbers, while the prohibitionists are losing ground, and one by one, even the politicians are starting to change their tune. (Governor Gary Johnson's call for legalization a couple of months ago was seen as a major development.)

Of course, there was ample pessimism on hand as well... there's a lot of concern about a bill currently in congress, misleadingly named the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act, which seeks to make all "pro-drug" information illegal. (This would potentially strangle free speech on the internet and beyond.) Then, right at the end of the conference, there was a heated exchange between those who had crafted the Alaska proposal, and those who regard it as a mistake (thinking that it's too soon for such a broad measure, and fearing that if it fails, it will be a setback), and we were all admonished not to lose focus now, lest we have a repeat of what happened in the late '70s, when legalization seemed imminent, just before Reagan declared his War on Drugs.

Anyway, it was a very inspiring conference. This is a great time to be a part of the cannabis law reform movement... I think marijuana prohibition is finally starting to crumble.

AndyLet freedom grow,

New Iceland cartoonthe story so far

Thought Residue

On Valentine's Day, my parents will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary! Congratulations, Mom and Dad! Bravo!

We got email this week from a guy named Adam, who wants to buy customized origami icehouse sets, with no green pieces and extra red, yellow, and blue pieces instead. Oddly enough, it just so happens that we ran out of green prematurely, and therefore have a surplus of red, yellow, and blue origami icehouse cards!
Why is a population that believes the government is hiding UFOs so willing to believe what that same government says about cannabis?

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