week has been an intense and hectic roller coaster of emotion
for us. It started Friday, when we loaded everything we thought
we might need into the van and drove it up to Philly, for Philcon.
There we held a smashingly successfully gaming event we called
The Pop-Tart Cafe.
You'll find plenty of details (and pictures) on that elsewhere;
suffice it to say that the initial test of the format went exceedingly
well. We showed our guests a really good time, we did brisk business,
and we had a lot of fun in the process. So we're figuring this
is going to be something we start doing pretty often, and we're
already starting to line up future bookings.
With barely enough time for a nap in between, it was then
time to go downtown for the Weird Al Concert. We always see his
concerts when he's in town, and not just because we love his
music... it happens that Gina
is a close personal friend of Al, and she always gets backstage
passes for us when he's playing in the area. Sadly, Alison forgot
her glasses, Kristin had a migraine, and Al was losing his voice,
but we all had a great time nonetheless. Al and his band put
on an excellent show.
the show, we got to join a few dozen other VIPs for some meet-and-greet
time in a holding tank backstage. Having done this a couple of
times now, I was pleased to note that Al recognized me; I got
him to autograph a green 3-point Icehouse piece I had in my pocket.
But before long, it was all over.
Or so we thought. As it happens, our car got sealed up inside
a parking garage that closed early, and we had to go back to
find Gina to get a ride home with her. Turns out she was on the
tour bus by then, which meant that we ended up having to hang
out on the tour bus with her and the band. Naturally, this was
extremely cool. I got the other members of the band to sign my
little green pyramid (Jim West, the fifth to sign, managed to
put his autograph on the inside) and when they opened
up a big package that had been sent in by a fan and found that
it contained yet another huge tray of brownies, they opened 'em
up, passed 'em around, and sent us home with most of the tray.
I've been continuing to enjoy those brownies all week long.
Of course, on Monday I had to go back downtown to get our
car out of the garage. Naturally, they claimed they hadn't closed
early the night before, and made me pay for an extra day's rent.
Grrrr. But I enjoyed the subway ride down there... this was the
first time I had ridden the newly opened central section of the
green line. It's wonderful.
On Tuesday, I awoke to the sound of the most terrifying and
gut-wrenching screaming for help that I can ever recall hearing.
I came running downstairs to find the household in crisis: Alison's bird,
Green Bean, had been let out of
his cage and forgotten about, and Kristin
was searching in vain for him. All she could find was a small
trail of feathers that stopped in the game room, and 3 vaguely-suspicious
looking cats, prowling the vicinity. She was, quite understandably,
Within moments, all three of us were desperately searching
the house, but Green Bean was nowhere to be found. We searched
and panicked and searched and cried, and with each passing minute
it became more and more clear that, wherever he was, he had to
be dead... he just couldn't survive very long on the floor with
3 hungry cats in pursuit, and if he were still alive, we'd be
hearing his incessant squawks. But where was he? The body, or
what was left of it, had to be somewhere.
Finally, with the aid of a flashlight, Kristin found him.
One look at the crumpled body lying on its side under the radiator
told the story: he'd crawled in there during his struggle with
the cats, and died of his injuries.
The 3 of us huddled together on the floor by the radiator
and just cried. Green Bean could be pretty annoying at times
(particularly when Kristin has a migraine) but he was also really
cool and beloved and the sudden tragedy was as devastating as
the unexpected loss of a loved one always is. For perhaps 20
minutes we all just sat there, going through those first few
stages of grief; then practical matters, like what to do with
the body, quickly arose. We talked about where in the backyard
we would bury him, and Kristin fetched a couple of candidate
coffin-boxes. Then I reached under the radiator to retrieve the
my god!" I shouted, "He's still alive!" Instantly
I was pressing the actually-alive bird into Alison's trembling
hands. Not only was he alive, he didn't even seem to be particularly
injured -- just stunned. We rushed him over to the vet, who pronounced
him to be really in very good shape, with no apparent broken
bones or gashes requiring stitches. He just had a few minor scrapes,
which should heal up fine with a bit of the anti-biotics he prescribed.
So, Green Bean had come back from the dead. Needless to say,
emotions now were no less intense than they had been when we
believed he was dead, and not just because our sorrow had been
replaced by joy. For a long time we all felt this strange emotional
hangover. Even though he wasn't dead, that hour or so in which
we believed he must be dead was nevertheless very real. It really
was like he died, and then came back to life. It was like a miracle.
Immediately following Green Bean's near death experience,
we instituted new policies regarding the release of the bird,
which should hopefully keep this sort of thing from happening
One final note, for those of you who pre-ordered Icehouse
sets: you got an even better deal than you thought. Now that
the elements are all in hand, and the product is really in print,
Kristin's been analyzing the actual numbers, and unfortunately,
we've simply got to raise the price. It's vital that we make
Icehouse available at wholesale prices, for delivery into stores,
and the margins are just too tight for us to make money without
setting the suggested retail price at $35. But at least it's
still cheaper than the $37 wood sets we used to sell, and the
good news is, we're finally ready to offer Icehouse sets to stores.
So, if you're a game store owner, surf on over to the Retailer's
Back Room and place your order. (Alternatively, if you're
just a fan who likes to buy in bulk, you'll find Icehouse available
in 6 packs at our new Bulk