Guide to Wunderland
- News Archives
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?
New this week:
Battle On The Mountain
Honor God Through Sex" - me
wiredrawn (wyre'-dron) adj.
excessively minute and subtle
- The Thirteenth Warrior :-|
- Typical Crichton -
good guys outnumbered by beasts.
Beats Congo, for sure.
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]
Planet X Magazine
When I Grow Up
||Toy Fair Prep / Batman / NORML
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
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.
||On Valentine's Day, my parents will be celebrating
their 50th wedding anniversary! Congratulations, Mom and Dad!
||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
||Why is a population that believes the government
is hiding UFOs so willing to believe what that same government
says about cannabis?