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It's always a treat to see this Hitchcock classic in a crowded big screen theater. Watch for the little kid who puts his fingers in his ears just before an unexpected shooting in a famous cafeteria.

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Thursday, January 28,1999

What's New?

The biggest news in our community this week is that Jake has become a proud father. Mary McCandless Davenport was born on January 19th. She was about three weeks early, but weighed in at 6 pounds 2 ounces nevertheless. Word has it that both she and Lisa are doing wonderfully; Jake closed his announcement email by saying "Sometimes we have trouble believing that we created such a wonderful child."

So congrats, Jake and Lisa, and welcome to the world, Mary! Here's hoping you have a terrific life.

Meanwhile, we are into our second week without real jobs, and we feel like we're adrift in uncharted seas. In putting my job search on hold, we are taking the plunge into full-on entrepreneurialism, and it is at once exciting, fulfilling, and frightening. We have, after all, been playing at running a company for more than 10 years - and now, at last, we're ready to try it for real.

Our goal is to be operating in the black by this time next year. Kristin's been running the numbers (as usual) and calculates that with what we have in savings, combined with the money the gift shop currently brings in, we should be able to keep operating for between 6 months and a year. Naturally, the money will last longer as we find ways of increasing our income, either by building up the sales volume at the gift shop or by finding work in other ways (like by making web pages for hire or other creative services).

Of course, this is how all new businesses operate, carefully juggling assets and debt payments in a numbers game called Cashflow Management. As the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money.

A case in point is Icehouse pieces. For 10 years we have dreamed of making high-quality, injection-molded, translucent plastic Icehouse pieces, but never have we had the money available to invest in the project. Now as we face our uncertain future, we have the option of using up a couple of months of our funding buffer to make this dream a reality, with the hope that we can make that money back (and then some) on sales of the sets before we actually need it.

As another saying goes, fortune favors the bold. So, we've decided to start pricing plastic piece manufacturing, for the first time in about 5 years. Kristin's got some old leads to start with, but if you or someone you know is involved in plastic piece manufacturing, please either point them to our online piece specification or pass the info on to Kristin.

As described in the bid request, the new generation of Icehouse pieces will have some unique new features. Notice that the pieces will be hollow, but with a thick wall that makes them suitable for heavy duty use. Moreover, the thickness of the walls will be tailored to permit the pieces to fully nest, which will add a new dimension to the design possibilities of these already marvelous game pieces. Naturally they'll be in beautifully tinted translucent plastic, hopefully either acrylic or crystal styrene.

Our plan is to release this new generation of Icehouse game sets in time for this year's Origins game convention. But as I always like to say, no decisions are final, so stay tuned.

Last week I made some rather drastic changes to the format of this page, and naturally I got a lot of feedback. Many people (including Kristin) complained that there was too much whitespace, so this week I re-worked the page again, using a much simpler (and more compact) approach. I think it's much better. I also got some tips regarding stuff like compressing my images and upgrading to a more powerful scripting tool - both of these are things I've been planning to do for a long time, but just haven't gotten around to. Now that I'm looking to start doing web development professionally, I've realized that I need to get serious about these things... but unfortunately, I've been too busy this week to do more than merely move these issues up a bit on my urgent list of things to do. But I do really appreciate the feedback... please keep it coming!

Peace & Love,

Thought Residue
"You can't very well enjoy the moment if you spend all your time worrying about how it's going to turn out." -- Carla
"Who'd want to escape in the middle of a basket weaving contest?" -- Colonel Robert Hogan
The only thing more frustrating that waiting for a computer to finish doing something you didn't really want it to do is clicking then on the cancel button and being ignored. Why give me a cancel button if you aren't going to listen to me when I click on it?

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