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Sketchbook Harvest


In bed, lying beside Gina, hugging her sleepily. For some reason mixed images from Kids in the Hall are going through my head.

Cool Words

prog (prog) vi. (dial.) to search about, esp. to forage n. food; victuals

Haiku Reviews

Zelig %}
This film has inspired
many to copy its style.
Which is kind of weird.

Daddy-O's Reviews

Babylon 5: In The Beginning

I've never really watched any of this epic sci-fi series until now, but I've had enough low-intensity exposure to be attracted to this "How It All Began" style movie. And it was just what I wanted, carefully explaining the backstory and all the alien races involved. Since this film was made near the end of the production of the series, it wasn't burdened, as the series itself apparently was, by the need to keep important facts secret during the first couple of seasons. This allowed for a nice straightforward narrative, but I suppose if you ever plan to watch the whole series from the beginning, you probably shouldn't start by watching "In The Beginning".

Tirade's Choice

NASA's Planetary Photojournal

Saturday, November 25, 2000
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Thanks for the Pop-Tarts!

Well, we had a very pleasant Thanksgiving holiday and I hope you did as well. This year we shared the big meal of the day with Alison's family, in Richmond. We had a great dinner there with eight of her relatives ranging from her grandfather down to his other grandkids, Alison's teenaged cousins, Brian and Diana. They ended up returning to our house in the evening, along with their parents and Alison's mom Jean, for family dessert night at Wunderland.Earth. There we were joined by my parents and Kristin's parents, plus Kristin's grandmother and aunt and uncle, for a fabulous buffet of desserts Alison had prepared, featuring four homemade pies plus a couple of other true desserts (i.e. things made with chocolate). Members of all three of our families mingled thus for a time, and then our friends started coming over and we settled in for a night of gaming, featuring a lot of playtesting (and name brainstorming) of Secret Project 44-CC. It was a great day all around and a reminder that we have much to be grateful for indeed.

The other big event for us this week was, of course, Pop Tart Cafe #3, held at Philcon, which, to quote Ginohn, was a "raging success". Check out Eeyore's page of photos as well as my online scrapbook for scenes of the latest incarnation. As you might expect, the attention this time was on Chrononauts, and it was a big, big hit. It sold like pancakes, far outselling everything else we'd brought, which included everything in own our line as well as the games at ContagiousDreams.

Speaking of which, we've come to a new decision about this. It's been almost two years since we first concocted ContagiousDreams, long enough now to start drawing conclusions about it, and while the online side of it is working fine (though sorely in need of expansion and promotion), we've decided to stop featuring ContagiousDreams games at our in-person events.

This was not an easy decision, as there are many issues involved. From a financial standpoint, the added sales generated by ContagiousDreams games seem great. 18% of our sales this weekend were in CD games (though at Origins, the average was only 12%). But it comes at a cost. It leaves consumers confused about who we are and which products we actually make ourselves. More to the point, it distracts attention from our own stuff. We've added a lot of products to our own line since starting ContagiousDreams, and at this point, we don't need any games but our own to keep a roomful of gamers entertained all day. Finally, the packing, hauling, tracking, and unpacking of all those additional items adds considerably to the workload involved in running one of these events, and as we seek to expand our schedule of appearances, we need to streamline our processes as much as possible. So, even though the tests have been profitable, we've decided to limit the existence of our online store to the realm it was created for: cyberspace. Henceforth, we'll be handing out the ContagiousDreams catalog, but not actually selling any those products, at events like the Pop-Tart Cafe.

There were a few mishaps this time out.... since we're insanely busy, the packing was extra rushed and we forgot to bring lots of little things we wanted, including our primary toaster, of obvious importance at a Pop-Tart Cafe. (Happily, thanks to a little help from our friends, we now own a brand new *four-slice* toaster!) Also, when we arrived on Friday night, we were incredibly dismayed to find that our room was not the full-size suite we were expecting, but instead a much smaller room, too small really for us to operate out of, and without the all-important coat closet we use as a Pop-Tart kitchen. Long story short, Kristin (the Amazing Accomplisher of the Impossible) got the whole thing straightened out in the morning and we moved to more appropriate digs on the sixth floor.

There were other mishaps with happy endings. After a lot of trouble, we finally managed to get some pizzas ordered, and apparently while fumbling with cash, I gave the delivery guy an extra $20 bill (beyond the tip). He made a special trip back to return it! And late that night, while Joshua and Lisa were helping us load stuff into the van after closing, Josh lost his cell phone. He was sad for awhile, but when we got home and unpacked, we found it, and mailed it back to him!

So the setbacks were minor, while the successes were grand. We created a great gaming space and it was jammed with people having fun with our games from the moment we opened at 2 in the afternoon to when we finally closed down around 3 in the morning. And I even managed to play a few games myself! (Including some quality playtesting of my new game...)

It was fun getting to see various friends and fans again, and just as we had neat new things to show off, so too did others: Zarf brought along a really cool flashing light gizmo he'd made for us (based on a request we made several years ago), Eeyore gave me a Button Me he'd made of me ("andy designs games, writes stories, draws cartoons, takes photographs, programs computers, rules the universe, and likes to beat people up") and Andrew Bergstrom brought along a pile of really cool felt-backed plexiglass renditions of Eeyore's design for a 3-way Martian chessboard. (We bartered for a set of six.) Thanks for the cool stuff, guys!

Anyway, it was a great success, but as usual, we couldn't have done it without all the help and support of our friends, and in particular I want to thank Dale and Dan and 'Becca and Zarf and Eeyore and Paul and Hayley and Kory and Ginohn (and of course, Kristin and Alison) for everything. You guys rock! Thanks for running errands and loaning us furniture and helping us haul our stuff back and forth. We couldn't have done it without you!

AndyPS: Sorry to be late this week...

the story so far

Thought Residue
"Have you ever thought about becoming a duck?" -- caption of a cartoon in this week's New Yorker, of a man standing in his doorway looking down at two earnest-looking ducks
When did we move from "To Err is Human, To Really Foul Things Up You Need A Computer" to this kind of unshakable faith in machines that Bush supporters now exhibit, even in the face of tens of thousands of screwed-up ballots? How can hand-counting be unconstitutional when it's obviously the only way vote tabulation was even possible in the days of our Founding Fathers?
I'm happy to tip pizza delivery guys, because I ask them to do what I'm too lazy to do myself: drive back and forth between my house and the restaurant on a cold and rainy night. And I don't mind tipping waitrons, either, because again, I'm requesting their help in wrangling up a dinner. But I really hate tipping hotel bellhops, particularly the ones who just refuse to let you carry your own luggage. They remind me of those guys at NYC intersections, who wipe off your windshield while you yell for them not to, and then expect you to give them a tip.

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