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Sketchbook HarvestNanofiction

Romance Arrives One Day Late

They each spent Valentine's Day alone, each thinking of the other, each wishing they were together, each knowing the other didn't seem interested. The next day at work, they talked casually. "Do anything special last night?" "No. Did you?" "No." And suddenly, their eyes locked, and in that gaze, they each confessed their silent longings.

#12's Nanofics

New this week:
The Long Wait


I'm whistling Alcohol (by Bare Naked Ladies) while grabbing my carton of whipping cream from Thom and Kathy's refrigerator.

Cool Words

yclept (ih-klept' or ih-kleept') called; named -- past participle of clepe (kleep) vt. call; name (from OE clipian "to speak, call" related to OFris kleppa "to ring, knock")

Haiku Reviews

Topsy Turvy :-|
I am the very
majorly anecdotal
modern musical.Daddy-O's Reviews

Two Of Us

The impersonations were barely passable, but I was still a sucker for this "what if" tale produced for VH-1, depicting what might have happened one day in 1976, when Paul McCartney unexpectedly dropped by John Lennon's New York City apartment, and they spent the day hanging out together. If you're not a Beatles fan, however, you will probably be bored stiff.

Tirade's Choice

End Daylight Savings Time!
Fruits of Chaos
Free Personal Internet Space
#12's Webcomic picks
The Parking Lot Is Full

Saturday, February 19, 2000
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Toy Fair 2000 Report

Well, we're back from Toy Fair, and boy are we ever tired. Toy Fair is the largest -- and longest -- trade show we've exhibited at to date, and it was quite an event. In was held at the gargantuan Javit's convention center in New York City, and it ran Sunday morning through Thursday afternoon (hence the lateness of this update).

We saw a fascinating cross-section of the industry during the 5 days we spent greeting visitors to our booth. It was interesting to see how some buyers were drawn only to certain games, and others only to certain others. Everyone loved the Icehouse pieces of course, and we were forever explaining what they were to people who weren't at all interested in carrying games. The vast majority of the show is devoted to toys (it is called Toy Fair after all) which meant that only a few of the people who passed by our booth were actually game buyers. I learned to thin the prospects by asking people directly, "Looking for games?" In the cacophony of content engulfing our little booth, it was often helpful to pull in those actually looking for games with this question... on many occasions it got interested buyers into our booth who otherwise would certainly have walked right on by.

Many times over we heard, from retailers who already sell Fluxx, that it does very well in their stores. This was a great context to tell them about our other games in, and we handed out hundreds of our beautiful new catalogs (which we finally got finished just before the beginning of the show). Many other retailers reported being unable to get Fluxx, having heard that the publisher ICE had gone bankrupt, and were delighted to learn they could buy it from us. Still others knew of Fluxx, Aquarius, and Icehouse through requests they've been getting from their customers, and eagerly accepted our sales packets. We also did some very important networking with others in the industry, particularly among the press corp. And I even ran into another guy with a purple suit! He was even more into it than me... his consulting company is called Purple Suit, Inc.

It was a great show. We made dozens of solid new contacts each day, some resulting in immediate sales (some quite large), others in an exchange of data that will (with varying certainty) translate into sales in the coming weeks and months. A lot will depend on how well we are able to follow-up on all these leads, but thanks to the brilliant new system Kristin devised for organizing the business cards we collected, we will hopefully have a good success ratio. We call these cards Follow-Up Cards: they're quarter-sized cardstock pages with a space to tape on a business card and room below it (with a bunch of checkboxes and blank spaces) to write notes on the conversation you just had, so that later you'll actually be able to remember something about the person who's card you just accepted. The space where the biz card goes even has blanks for filling in vital locator data, for the case in which someone run out of (or never had any) business cards. The Follow-Up Cards worked out really really well, so much so that we're thinking about making the cards more generic and selling them in packs of 100.

Our booth number was 5277, which may give you a sense of just how big this event really was. There were thousands upon thousands of really cool toys and games assembled together in that building, and I could have spent this whole report just talking about neat stuff I saw at the show during those occasional few moments away from the booth that we allowed ourselves during the event. But instead, since this report is late and already I'm writing too much, I'm only going to mention one of them: InsectaZoid™ Battling Robotic Insects. These are in prototype form only at the moment, and their creators were showing them off in the booth right across from us, seeking manufacturing and marketing partners. And boy are they ever cool. Each one is big -- over a foot long at least -- and with a professional grade remote unit in your hands, you could make this giant mechanical bug skitter across the floor, grabbing objects in its pinchers and fighting to dominate the other giant bugs in the ring. They're just amazingly fun, and we got to watch them battle each other all week, sometimes even taking the controls ourselves. When things were quiet, they'd send their bugs across the aisle at us, in bold frontal assaults that left us scrambling to defend ourselves. We had great fun interacting with the dreamers at ZoidCo, and wish them all the best... with luck, they'll have a production version of the InsectaZoid™ on the market in time for Xmas.

Though we've taken larger teams to smaller shows, it was just the core team (myself, Kristin, and Alison) in the booth this time, which made it all the more exhausting. But I can't imagine how dead we'd be now if Kristin and I had been running the booth without Alison... her assistance was invaluable, and she makes a great booth babe, too.

But Alison also had an agenda of her own at the show. It was at Toy Fair last year that we got the idea to open Contagious Dreams, after meeting so many dreamers assembled together in one place, and this year's show provided a great opportunity to meet with yet more dreamers, and to pick up samples of new games for review. This project has kind of stalled in recent months, as we've been busy with our own game production efforts, and as the to-be-reviewed pile has grown increasingly less exciting. Fortunately, Alison has taken over the job of tracking the Games Under Review list, trying to get lingering games reviewed and bringing new ones in for testing. She went to Toy Fair as the Contagious Dreams buyer (or as she prefers it, the Duchess of Retail) and she spent a lot of time meeting with dreamers, explaining our program, and she came back with a huge stack of interesting-looking new games from small game companies. All of which means you can expect to see some cool new games showing up soon at Contagious Dreams!

Unlike other convention centers we've worked, the Javit's has no attached hotel, but we were lucky enough to find space in a great hotel just a couple of blocks away, and one with a garage where we could park Alison's mini-van ("Queenie") at no extra charge. We were within walking distance of Times Square as well; one night we bought an assortment of goldware (gold-colored silverware, something I've never seen before) from the Going Out Of Business store, and since we were right there in the heart of the theater district, we even managed to take in a couple of plays, notably a wonderfully strange production called Squonk, which I would best describe as being like Stomp on LSD (though since I've never tried acid, I'm not sure if that's really a good analogy). Alison summed it up as "Laurie Anderson produces Dead Can Dance as a nightmare about eating," and Kristin compared it to what she's always thought a Residents concert might have been like. But regardless of how you might attempt to describe it, it was extremely entertaining -- at least for those of us who like things that are really very odd.

During the drive to NYC and back, Alison read House of Stairs (by William Sleator) aloud to us. I remember hearing book reports on this classic piece of young adult fiction in the early seventies when it was new, but I'd never actually read it before. Great book! It's interesting to think about how easy it would be now to make a movie of this disturbing vision, a movie-making challenge that would have been vastly more difficult before the age of computer animation.

I had 73 emails to wade through when I got home (Kristin had me beat though, with 183) but one message that came in while we were gone stands out from the others as being of key importance to us right now: ICE is rapidly running out of Fluxx. They had expected their supply to last another month, but sales have apparently been increasing in the wake of our decision to reclaim the publication rights. This means our reprint schedule has been accelerated, and we may even be out of stock for awhile.

Yikes. Our frantic pace must continue unabated. Well, at least Toy Fair is over.

AndyLet freedom grow,

New Iceland cartoonthe story so far

Thought Residue
"We get along best with kids who act like adults and adults who act like kids." - Alison

I can think of no better example of the cruelty and corruption resulting from marijuana prohibition than the case of Deborah Lynn Quinn, a woman born without arms or legs, who was just sentenced to a year in prison, at a cost to Arizona taxpayers of at least $126,000 (that's over $345 a day), for selling $20 worth of pot to a police informant. Is it any wonder we now have over 2 million of our citizens in jail?
"Boy, this wedding's gonna be pretty lame without a trampoline, huh?" - Kelso, on "That 70's Show"

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