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Sketchbook Harvest


I walk out the main doors from my building into cold rain, keys and a bottle of flowers in my hands. I'm making tick tock music noises with my tongue.

Cool Words

nodus (noh'-duss) n. complication; difficulty pl. nodi from Latin nodus knot, node

Haiku Reviews

O Brother, Where Art Thou? :)
The Coen brothers
bring Ulysses to the South.
This film's bona fide!

Daddy-O's Reviews
Torn Curtain

Nowhere is Hitch's concept of the "McGuffin" more strained than in this film. This was his nickname for the secret message or stolen death star plans or whatever it is that everyone in the film is chasing after. In Torn Curtain, Paul Newman plays an American scientist who defects to the other side of the Iron Curtain with a headful of nuclear secrets, which can supposedly be used to build a "defensive weapon" that would somehow make the atomic bomb useless and obsolete. For some reason, the United States military had canceled this project, but then those peace-loving East Germans said they'd fund Paul Newman's research, leaving him no choice but to defect, to live and work in East Berlin, for the sake of peace. Uh, huh. Anyway, you can tell he's up to something, since he tried to ditch his assistant/fiancée Julie Andrews in Sweden, without telling her anything about his plan. This is one of Hitchcock's last films (made in 1966) and it's got more logic flaws than he usually permits, but there's still a lot to like in this film, particularly if you fancy Germans.

Tirade's Choice

3DO XTreme

#12's Webcomic picks
Robot Stories: Real Tales of Retail

"My staff has been going through Looney Labs games trying them out for the past few days. Aquarius is the first one I have played with them. I AM HOOKED!!! Aquarius is the most fun I have had in a good long time.... Now if I could just win a game. I can't believe I am having so much fun losing." -- D.P."Vern" Vernazzarro, host, on Delphi's Game Industry Forum

Thursday, February 22, 2001
by the Wunderland Toast Society

What's New?

What's Going On? Between Toy Fair and GTS

Well, we're back from a week in New York City and we've just about recovered from it. Toy Fair is without a doubt my least favorite of our annual cycle of trade shows and events; but that doesn't mean it isn't also one of our most important. Even though it's a strictly industry-only show, it's also the biggest trade show we exhibit at, and it's easy to feel rather lost in Toy Fair's immensity, particularly when so much of what's going on there has nothing whatever to do with us.

Alison joined us for the first couple of days, but since she also works part-time at a flower shop and Toy Fair overlaps with Valentine's Day (perhaps the busiest of all in the florist biz), she had to head home after the first day. Fortunately, Dawn lives in New York (though we're urging her to move back to DC) and she was able to help us on the last day. This made things a whole lot easier... as with setting up the booth, tearing it down and moving out is a lot easier with three. Thanks Alison and Dawn for your help!

Our attempt to increase on-the-spot sales at Toy Fair by giving away a special new t-shirt was a flop, but that's OK, because now we have something to use for Prize Support! Expect these shirts to show up soon on the Rabbit support page. (If you pre-ordered one of these shirts, we will be sending them out soon. If you didn't, you'll have to try to win one in a tournament... we've decided not to sell these shirts but rather to give them away as prizes.)

As is probably evident from the fact that my last report was titled "Approaching Overload", we've been even more out-of-control busy than usual, which means that even with our ambitious and frantic workpace, stuff falls through the cracks. One area it showed was in our booth design; we didn't even manage to find time to get new signage made in advance, and had to throw something together in the hotel to promote our newest items. But our new catalogs were a hit, we gave out lots of sample Cosmic Coasters and demo copies of Chrononauts, and we made many good contacts, including some we just wouldn't make at smaller, more niche-oriented trade shows. These included several promising leads in Kristin's search for warehousing and fulfillment outsourcing. So, Toy Fair was good. But now that it's over, we've started looking ahead.

Our next big event is the GAMA Trade Show (GTS), held in Vegas at the end of March. It's another Industry-Only show, but this one is focued on the adventure game industry, which is the market served by most of the stores that carry our games so far. So although it's a much smaller show than Toy Fair, it's actually more relevant for us, and we have a lot to do to get ready for it. We're pulling together and polishing up the retailer support efforts we have been working on since last summer, when we first started getting our games onto the shelves of these hobby game stores. In fact, it was at this show last year that we first started talking to retailers about what types of things we could do to help them promote our games in their stores, and our new catalog, posters, and pretty much everything we have been doing with the Mad Lab Rabbits program has come as a result of these discussions.

So in the next few weeks we will be updating and expanding the pages around the web site that are geared towards helping our store owners (and rabbits) promote our games. We already have some notes online about running Fluxx and Icehouse tournaments, but we need similar documents for our other games, and we need to gather it all together into an easy to navigate format (with downloadable PDF files) etc. etc. etc. Like I said, we have a lot of work to do in the next 4 weeks.

If you have been following the site for a while, you know that we have sporadically been working on developing a demo program, the Mad Lab Rabbits, for fans who want to help us promote our games. Things on this front have started and then stagnated several times now, most recently with the Chrononauts Demo Program that we put in place just before the Holidays, and we still have not followed through on actually sending out the uncut deck prizes to all the wonderful folks who helped promote the game this fall. Sigh. It's one of the many things that fell through the cracks when we found ourselves dropping everything else to work on packing orders almost non-stop.

Anyway, if you are a rabbit, expect to hear from Kristin soon about how to claim your uncut deck. The new software upgrade to still isn't ready, and won't be in time for the trade show next month, so we are going to put on hold the cool technology side of things (rabbits will just have to wait a while longer before any sort of ranking system is put into place) and concentrate on polishing up the program into something we can present to the retailers next month, as a resource to find demo support for our games in their stores.

Speaking of rabbits... has anyone out there run an actual tournament for Chrononauts yet? We haven't done so ourselves, but we need to in order to create the "How to run a Chrononauts Tournament" memo that we want to include in the retailers support package. So I guess we'll be running a Chrononauts tournament next weekend at JohnCon! Thoughts? Please share them on the rabbit discussion list.

In Other News:

  • Our friends Leslie (in California) and Michelle (in Colorado) have both just had babies! Michelle's baby, Anne Brook Troeltzsch, arrived early Saturday morning (2/10/01) at 2:15am, and weighed 6 lbs. 12 oz. They're all doing great (including first time sister, Emily). Meanwhile, Skyler John Walkwitz arrived at 4:20am this very morning (2/22/01), and weighed 2 lbs. 4 oz. Unfortunately, Skyler's arrival was 3 months early, after an emergency C-section; but he's in stable condition and although he'll obviously be spending the next couple of months in the hospital, things otherwise all seem OK. And happily, her insurance is covering everything...
  • I've also been informed that Ellen (elsewhere in Colorado) has been named Employee of the Year, even in the face of many challenges and setbacks in her new position. Way to go Ellen!

AndyLet Freedom Grow,

the story so farRegarding this week's Iceland: clearly, it is not complete. In fact, it's just a preview of coming attractions. Here you see the panel I was working on for this week, but even as I was inking it in, I was realizing that it's just too soon for this scene. Believe it or not, I am going somewhere with all this, but I'm also making up the route as I go along and right now I'm in uncharted territory. Anyway, I've decided that there's still one thing I need to set up before this banquet scene can begin, and this then requires I invent a scene to preceed this one, and there just wasn't enough time to do all that for this week's update. So, make up your own captions for this panel, and tune in again in a few to see what I end up using myself.

Thought Residue
The DARE program's own people held a press conference to admit that their program doesn't work! They announced that DARE graduates go on to use drugs at an equal or higher rate than students not exposed to the program, and are scrambling to invent a new curriculum. Meanwhile, researchers in the UK have determined that marijuana prohibition plays no role whatsoever in deterring pot use.
I finally took (informally) the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator test, and came up as XNTJ (Introvert/Extrovert - Intuitive - Thinking - Judging). This apparently makes me a "Scientist/Field Marshal," whatever that means.
"That's not how I would have handled that."
"How would you have handled that?"
"I wouldn't have had kids."
-- the father and his stoner brother on this week's episode of "Grounded For Life"

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